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Minor Wounds

Minor Wounds    
 
 

 

 

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Scar Management

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Minor Wounds    

 

 

Minor skin wounds often occur as the result of unanticipated trauma and may include lacerations, abrasion (grazes), blisters and more serious wounds such as skin tears and bites. In many instances the skin may only require protection from further injury and can therefore be treated in the home with due regard for managing the risk of infection. In other cases the advice of a doctor is preferred, especially when the wound is deep and there may be damage to underlying structures such as nerves.

 

 

Types of Minor Wounds

 

Lacerations are irregular shaped wounds often with ragged skin edges. There is often deeper skin damage and bruising.

 

Abrasions or grazes are more superficial wounds in which the top layer of the skin is removed e.g. from the skin sliding across a rough surface. These injuries often contain dirt and gravel.

 

Blisters are the result of friction of between the top two layers of the skin. Removing the top of the blister i.e. puncturing the blister, draining the fluid and removing the skin, will allow the area to heal more quickly; in many cases the blister will burst of its own accord. In both instances a protective dressing is required.

 

A cut or incision usually has clean edges as a result of the cause of injury e.g. a sharp knife. If deep, these wounds can bleed profusely and nerve and muscle damage can occur.

 

Human and animal bites are of special concern, especially in the case of puncture wounds, as bacteria from the mouth may enter the wound resulting in an increased risk of tetanus and infection. Most animal bites are sustained from pets, usually dogs, and can cause abrasions, deep scratches, and lacerations as well as puncture wounds. Cat bites are considered more serious due to the high incidence of infection.

 

 

Complications

 

Infection is one of the largest risks for minor traumatic wounds. These are considered "dirty wounds" as they often contain debris and bacteria from the cause of the injury. A visual check for the presence of foreign material, its removal and careful wound cleansing may precede the application of a wound dressing.

 

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Treatment

 

Cleaning the wound and surrounding skin is usually the first stage in treating a minor wound. Wound cleansing removes debris and other foreign material which, if left, may cause infection. Abrasions require thorough irrigation as ground dirt is frequently embedded in these wounds. An antiseptic solution is recommended to cleanse the wound. The solution must remain on the wound surface for at least two minutes but preferably five minutes and rinsed off with normal saline solution. Recommended solutions are chlorhexidine, povidone-iodine and normal saline.

 

Clean surgical wounds that have been stitched (sutured) simply require the cleaning of old blood prior to the application of a dry dressing. In some cases it may be necessary to debride the wound before proceeding, in others, repair to underlying structures may need to be addressed before a wound dressing is applied.

 

Always try to determine the cause of the injury, the object which caused the injury and when the injury occurred. Wounds greater than six to eight hours old have an increased risk of infection. With all traumatic injuries assess the patient's tetanus status and ensure they have adequate coverage. Following this an assessment of the wound can be made for the location, size and depth and any additional trauma to underlying structures such as muscle, tendon nerve, vascular and bone. Animal bites must be monitored for 24-48 hours for signs of infection. Precautionary antibiotics may be administered.

 

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Product Selection

 

After thorough cleansing of the wound and surrounding tissues a choice of wound dressing can be made:

 

Most minor wounds will require a simple low-adherent dressing such as Exu-Dry* or OpSite* Post-Op* to provide protection from further injury.

 

Abrasions because of their superficial nature, have a tendency to dry out when exposed to the air and may require an initial layer of paraffin gauze such as Jelonet* before a secondary low adherent dressing can be applied such as OpSite Post-Op or Primapore* . These dressings will absorb small amounts of exudate that is expected from such wounds. If the wound is bleeding Algisite* M  can be applied under the dressing to help control the bleeding.

 

Sutured wounds can be managed with a low-adherent dressing such as those listed above and monitored accordingly for signs of clinical infection particularly sutured lacerations and animal bites.

 

Wounds with large amounts of exudate may require a management dressing such as Allevyn* for increased absorption. These dressings also cushion and protect the wound from further damage.

 

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Related Links

 

Treating Infection and Inflammation >

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