by: Dr. Anthony Ferrara
Last week, a young man came to NAUC for treatment of a laceration. He had cut his leg while working in his yard. He stated that he had immediately put pressure on the wound, and then went inside, got into his shower and cleaned it, using soap and shower pressured water. I told him "bravo". He did everything correct for proper wound care.
As summer comes around, people experience more wounds. Fortunately, most are minor scrapes. The key to all wound care is infection prevention. We at NAUC recommend to apply pressure first if there is any bleeding. Second, clean the wound as soon as possible. Use soap and fast running water, from a shower head or faucet. Antibacterial or plain soap will work. Despite what you may have heard in the past, the lowest infection rate of wounds happens when cleaned with soap and water. Yes, plain tap water is perfect! (The key is running the water at a fast rate, since this creates enough pressure to wash the germs away.) Hydrogen peroxide does not clean a wound as well as good old fashioned soap and water. In fact, it actually kills the cells that allow the tissue to heal best. After you have thoroughly washed the injured area, you will need to apply an antibiotic ointment and a dressing, such as a band-aid. This routine should occur daily, until the wound is healed.
If you are uncertain as to whether stitches are needed, see a medical professional as soon as possible, after the wound has been cleaned.
Signs of infection, one should look for daily, are pain, redness, swelling, warmth over the wound, and fever. Should you see any of these signs, seek immediate medical attention.
We welcome your questions.
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