Wednesday 11 May 2022

The 4 Best Ways To Prevent A Wound From Getting Infected

 Image By ClockFace CC BY-SA 3.0,

There are two stages of danger when it comes to getting wounded. The first is the wound can be something serious that can’t stop bleeding, or that there is damage done to the tissue that needs to be stitched up right away. The second is most often ignored. That is when a wound is not cared for and becomes infected. Preventing an infection is extremely important because one that is left untreated is potentially deadly.


Even a simple cut that doesn’t look particularly serious can end up becoming a major problem if it becomes infected. Even the most basic injury needs to be treated to ensure that it doesn’t become a problem later. In this article, we will go over some tips on how to treat a wound to prevent infection.


1 - Clean the wounded area


You may be tempted to clean your wound with some antibacterial soap and water. Try to avoid any soap since it could irritate the wound and may not properly clean it paving the way for bacteria to grow and become infected. You can use warm soapy water to clean the surrounding area with antibacterial soap but you have to be careful to not get any into the wound itself.


Instead, get a saline solution like Addipak which uses salt to disinfect the wound. These particular ones come in vials so you can easily store them in a first aid kit and are ideal for when you are out camping, for instance.


If the wound is superficial and not very deep then a quick wipe with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol will usually be enough to disinfect. Deeper wounds will require more than that and is when you should use the saline solution.


If the wound is filled with dirt or debris then you will need to be able to clear it out. You may have to use some tools to do this. It’s very important that any tool you introduce to the wound be made of stainless steel and is sterilized properly. Soak them in alcohol for a moment or drop them in boiling water for a minute before using.


2 - Bandage it up


Once the wound has been disinfected and sterilized you can bandage it up. Make sure to use the appropriate bandage or cover for the wound. For Instance, a large Band-Aid style bandage will work for small wounds that are not too deep.


However, a larger wound that has some discharge requires something more robust. In this case it is better to use some gauze that has been sterilized and then kept on the wound with an adhesive band. The one thing to make sure of is that it is not too tight. This will create pressure on the wound and cause the healing process to slow down. Keep it tight enough that the wound is kept covered and that is enough.


The bandage or dressing should be changed everyday, particularly if there is still some light bleeding or any discharge. When changing the bandage, take a look at the wound and see if there are any changes. At this time you should also wash it to keep any bacteria from reproducing.


3 - How to recognize an infection


Even despite your best efforts the wound can end up getting infected. It is important to know the signs so you can then seek medical attention or renew your prevention efforts.


The first few days will see some swelling and will be painful to touch. This isn’t an indication of an infection. However, after a few days this should subside so if there is an increasing amount of pain as the days pass then this could be a sign. Also, if the area is starting to feel really warm in addition to being painful then it is likely that you have an infection.


When you take off the bandage then look for any signs of a green or yellow discharge as this indicates a bacterial infection and you will need to treat it immediately.


4 - What to avoid


People used to recommend using hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting wounds, but that is now regarded as a mistake. It can be harmful to the skin and will actually slow the healing process down which in turn raises the risk of an infection. The idea is to make sure that the wound heals quickly.


Your wound doesn’t need to breathe so don’t leave it exposed. It will actually heal; much faster if you keep it bandaged and change the bandage every day.


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