An open wound is an injury that includes an external or internal break in your body tissue
An open wound is an injury that includes an external or internal break in your body tissue

Here are some right strategies that can be used to fasten the healing of your open wound.

  • Wash your hands with soap and clean water before touching the wound.
  • Avoid touching your wound directly with your fingers while treating it (use disposable gloves if possible).
  • Remove jewelry and clothing from your injured body part.
  • Use a clean gauze, mild solution, and sterile tweezers while cleaning open wounds.
  • Clean your wound immediately with mild antiseptic solutions to wash-off bacteria or pathogens that may cause further infection.
  • Flush the wound surface and interior as gently as you can with a mild or diluted soap or saline solution (small salt diluted in water) or bottled water or running tap water.
  • Wipe the surface with a clean gauze piece (a thin transparent fabric of linen-cotton).
  • Examine the wound for dirt or debris (glass pieces, wood pieces, etc.) that may be lodged inside your wound and remove it with sterile tweezers if possible.
  • Do not use disinfectants and antiseptic solutions such as concentrated hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol to clean open wounds. They are more likely to damage tissues than to help it heal.
  • Apply pressure to stop bleeding quickly and to prevent further anemia, and it may fasten the healing process.
  • Cover the wound with absorbent materials such as sterile gauze pads (available over the counter), waterproof bandages, or a clean, dry cloth.
  • Maintain pressure for one to five minutes. If the bleeding continues, then see a doctor.
  • Apply a thin layer of antibiotic cream to prevent infection.
  • Covering the wound: 
  1. Small cuts and scrapes can be left uncovered; however, moisture is usually needed to help speed up the healing process. Waterproof bandages and gauze work better for minor wounds. 
  2. Deep open wounds may require stitches or staples. Wounds that are left open periodically may form a crust over the surface layer and inhibit the growth of new blood vessels and tissue, slowing down the healing process and encouraging more scar formation. Additionally, dry air may cause cell death of tissues that are not yet covered in skin.
  3. Keep the large open wounds covered and moist to fasten the healing process by the rapid growth of new skin tissues. 
  4. Use advanced wound dressings such as films and hydrogels (keeps the wound moist to fasten the healing process).
  5. If you are sensitive to adhesive and gauze pads, use paper tape to cover the wound.
  6. However, if you have an unclean wound, bites, and puncture wound, it is wise to keep it open.

Review the wound every 24 hours.

What does an open wound mean?

An open wound is an injury that includes an external or internal break in your body tissue, usually the skin. Nearly, everyone experiences an open wound at some point in their life. Mostly, they are minor and can be treated with home remedies. You may have

  • Incisions (cuts): These are caused by a sharp object slicing the skin, such as a knife or during surgery.
  • Lacerations (rugged cuts): These are blunt trauma that splits the skin such as being hit with a heavy object.
  • Abrasions (grazes and scratches): These are caused by rubbing or grazing of the epidermis (surface layer of the skin), especially the knees, shins, ankles, and elbows.

Mostly, simple minor cut wounds do not need stitches to help them to heal. These wounds are left open to heal. Wounds that cause skin tears may require special care with bandages or dressings that keep the wound bed moist without sticking to the wound. Wounds that cause deep lacerations and abrasions may need to be closed by using stitches, staples, or adhesive glue.

When to see your doctor?

See your, doctor, if you have

  • A deep open wound that looks challenging and requires stitches.
  • Wounds due to animal, insect, or human bites.
  • Puncture wound.
  • Unclean wounds contaminated with feces, soil, saliva, glass particles, dirt, and dispersed.
  • Profusely bleeding wound, even after applying continued pressure.
  • The necessity to evaluate for a tetanus immunization. 
  • Wound with redness, swelling, and oozing.

Signs of infection such as

  1. Fast heart rate.
  2. Confusion.
  3. Disorientation. 
  4. High heart rate. 
  5. Fever or shivering. 
  6. Breathlessness. 
  7. Extremely severe pain despite taking pain relievers. 
  8. Clammy or sweaty skin.

SLIDESHOW

8 First Aid Kit Essentials for Scrapes, Cuts, Bug Bites, and More in Pictures See Slideshow

What to expect?

Most open wound treatments for minor injuries start healing by forming new skin tissue within one to three weeks if it is managed through periodic cleaning and dressing changes.

All wounds will be swollen, red, and painful but may vary in degree of pain. They may bleed. Usually, the pain is mild, and symptoms get better within two to three days. You can take over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if required or the one which your doctor has prescribed you.

Will I have a scar?

All wounds leave a scar. At first, your scar will be red and thick, but over time, it will become white, thin, and smaller; sometimes, it almost disappears. Everyone’s skin heals at different rates depending on their health, age, diet and wound infection. In some, the scar rises and becomes thicker called a keloid scar. After your wound heals, apply sunscreen to control scarring. Your doctor may advise some treatment options for the keloid scars.

What are the complications?

Serious bacterial wound infection-causing

  • Gas gangrene (decomposition of the tissue due to gas, forming bacterial infection).
  • Tetanus (fatal bacterial infection).
  • Heavy scarring that causes contractures (bands), reducing movement of the joints
  • Life-long disabilities
  • Chronic wound infection
  • Deep bone infection 
  • Death

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Medically Reviewed on 11/2/2020
References
WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/relieving-wound-pain#1

WHO https://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/tools/guidelines_prevention_and_management_wound_infection.pdf

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/accidents-first-aid-and-treatments/how-do-i-clean-a-wound/

CDC https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/pdf/woundcare.pdf

American Academy of Dermatology https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/injured-skin/burns/wound-care-minimize-scars

American college of surgeons Division of Education https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/education/patient%20ed/wound_lacerations.ashx

NIH: US National Library of Medicine https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000040.htm

KidsHealth.org https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/wounds.html

Mayoclinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-cuts/basics/art-20056711

Victoria state government: Emergency care Clinical network www.safercare.vic.gov.au