You know that keeping a wound clean will help it heal. But did you know that keeping the wound clean, moist and covered as opposed to open and dry helps wounds heal more quickly and efficiently? Most any topical injury, open would or rash heals better covered. It’s important when making this statement to explain, however, that keeping a wound covered as it heals, does not mean that the dressing or bandage should not be removed and changed.
Most people will probably find it odd that I make this disclaimer. Isn’t it obvious that wounds should be cleaned and bandages replaced regularly? To most of us it is obvious, but I have had the experience of being told by a licensed medical care facility, to leave a bandage in place over an open draining wound for several days. My husband severely burned his foot in an acid bath at work. He was taken to an urgent care clinic where the burns were dressed. The nurse told him specifically not to remove or change the dressing. She stated that the bandage would be changed when he returned for follow-up almost four days later. By the time he got to his follow up, his burn almost unbearably painful and some infection had set in. I do not know why this protocol was followed. Caregivers at the burn unit where he was sent for treatment agreed with me, that the bandage should have been changed.
So, when treating an external open wound, such as a laceration, burn, puncture, rash or skin infection, keep the wound moist and covered. By moist, I mean that the wound should be cleaned (mild soap and water work well) and then treated with a triple anti-biotic cream or ointment. In the case of open sores due to eczema, hydro-cortisone cream works best to keep the rash moist and aid in healing. Cover the wound with a plastic bandage, gauze or any any clean soft non-stick cloth. Change the bandage at least once daily and any time it gets wet or soiled.
Leaving a wound open wound dry and unprotected causes more scarring and also inhibits healing. When healing skin dries and cracks, it can open up new wounds, bleed and become infected. Applying a topical triple anti-biotic ointment, such as Neosporin, keeps the wound from drying and cracking. An ointment keeps the healing skin around the wound moist and supple so that the skin can grow and reform over the area. Using a triple antibiotic lotion will ward off infection.
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