A wound is an injury that damages the body. It is a generic term that refers to the harm caused by accidents, crashes, hits, guns, and more. Millions of people in the U.S. injure themselves every year. Those injuries vary from minor to life-threatening. Injuries can occur at work or play, inside or outside, driving a car, or walking out across the street. Wounds are injuries that break the skin or other tissues of the body. These involve cuts, scrapes, scratches, and punctured tissue. They sometimes happen due to an accident, but surgery, sutures, and stitches often cause wounds. A minor wound is usually not serious, but it’s necessary to clean it up and take care of it. Severe and infected wounds may require first-aid, followed by a visit to the doctor. You should also seek help if:
- The wound is deep
- You can’t close it yourself.
- You can’t stop the bleeding or get the dirt out.
- Or it doesn’t heal.
What’s the definition of a wound?
A wound, by correct definition, is a breakdown of the defensive function of the skin. It is the loss of continuity of epithelium, with or without loss of connective tissue.
Types Of would
Wounds come in all shapes, sizes, and depths. But we can categorize it into four different types:
- Minor – such as scratches, cuts, and grazes, and deeper wounds that can cure themselves
- Chronic – wounds that take time to heal or expand again due to a medical problem, such as an ulcer
- Injury – force, burns, or some physical impact causes it.
- Surgical wound – invasive surgery causes it.
1. Minor wounds
There is a wound when the skin breaks. A minor wound generally does not need immediate treatment. It is small and sufficiently clean enough that the edges can be easily approximated using tape.
- Wash your hands properly to avoid any infection of the wound.
- Wash well with warm soapy water for around 60 seconds or longer. Make sure that you remove the dirt and foreign bodies. Rinse well in tepid water—a dry blot with 4 x 4 gauze.
- Apply a small amount of antibiotic ointments, such as bacitracin, is optional.
- Cover with a loose bandage that keeps the dust or the Band-Aid out. Change the bandage/band-aid if it’s loose or dirty, at least once a day.
- Verify to make sure you’ve had a tetanus injection in the last 10 years.
2. Chronic wound care
The wound becomes chronic when it does not progress to normal healing stages. Suppose the wound does not show clear healing signs within 30 days. Then the doctor should start treating it as a chronic wound.
In the event of a chronic injury, doctors can recommend one or more of the following wound care methods:
- Cleansing: Chronic wounds require careful treatment. It also requires careful yet regular cleansing between dressing changes to facilitate healing. The exact steps vary depending on the wound. Many chronic wounds need neutral, non-irritating, and non-toxic cleaning solutions that cause minimal trauma during dressing changes.
- Antibiotics: When the infection is a cause of delayed healing, doctors prescribe antibiotics. The infection is clear, and the wound will continue on a smooth path to recovery.
- Debridement: If the chronic wound involves dead, infected, damaged, or contaminated tissue, the surgeon will remove the health tissue. This process is called wound debridement. This helps healthy tissue to combat infection and promote healing.
- Therapy: Several treatments can promote the healing of chronic wounds. For example, venous wounds can benefit from compression therapy. It is because they improve blood flow to the affected area and enhance vein support. Negative pressure wound therapy is another option for chronic wound treatment.
- Surgery: Some chronic wounds can require surgery to prevent further delays in healing. E.g., a skin graft is a procedure that transplants healthy tissue to the affected region. Some surgical site infections can also require additional surgery to correct the damage.
When you have had a serious injury, you can have skin wounds, such as bruising, scrapes, or cuts. (Cuts can be referred to as “lacerations” by the doctor)
Doctors treat cuts based on where they are, what caused them, their severity, and other factors. Sometimes wounds heal on their own, without any extra treatment. Or, they may need sutures (stitches), staples, elastic bandages, or Derma bond to heal.
Treatment for scrapes
Here’s how to take care of scrapes (also called abrasions), mild cuts, and “road rash” at home:
- Clean with gentle soap and water every day. When the doctor has prescribed an antibiotic ointment, apply a thin layer of ointment once or twice a day. Or, if you like, you can use an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment.
- Check regularly for signs of infection.
Treatment for large cuts or wounds with stitches or staples
- If doctors prescribe antibiotic tablets, take them as instructed until they are gone.
- Change your dressings as directed.
- Keep the wound dry for 48 hours after it you treat it.
- After the first 48 hours, wash the wound with mild soap and water as required. Then apply a very thin layer of antibiotic ointment on your stitches or staples if your health care provider directs you.
- Do not soak the wound until it fully heals. These include baths, long showers, saunas, and hot tubs.
4. Surgical wound care
The surgical wound is a cut or incision through the skin usually done with a scalpel during surgery. The surgical wound can also be the result of a drain during surgery. Surgical wounds vary widely in size. They’re usually closed with sutures, but sometimes they’re left open to heal.
How is a surgical wound treated?
Treatment for a surgical wound often depends on its position in the body. Doctors will place surgical dressings on the wound. And you need to change it regularly. The skin surrounding the surgical wound will likely need to be cleansed, often with saltwater and soap. You may even need to rinse the wound irrigated with saltwater. It includes filling the syringe with saltwater and spraying the skin around the wound.
Home wound care
Home treatment for a surgical wound can include some of the same procedures. This includes regular dressing and washing changes. Over-the-counter pain relief can also reduce discomfort. Patients are often released from the hospital before the surgical wound fully heals. Patients must follow all home care instructions. Properly following instructions will promote recovery and reduce the chances of infection.
The Bottom Line
If you have a minor or a more severe wound, it’s important to take action immediately. You can handle some wounds at home, but this is not always the case.
If you have a deep wound or a lot of bleeding, you need medical attention. It ensures that you receive the most appropriate treatment and reduces the risk of injuries and infection.