Wound Management

A wound is defined as the breaking of the skin and some underlying tissue due to an injury. Almost every person suffers from a type of wound at one point or another in their lives. Most wounds are minor and pose no serious threat. These can be sufficiently treated at home using simple methods. Wound can be caused by a road accident or from using a tool improperly. It is advised to get immediate emergency medical aid if the wound is found to be severe.

Are there different types of Wounds?

There are several types of wounds that are seen. These are mainly categorized according to their cause, such as:

  • Incision: An incision wound is caused by a sharp object mostly, such as a razor blade or a knife. Incision wounds bleed significantly more and faster too. A deep enough incision wound can also damage the underlying muscles, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons.
  • Abrasion:  A abrasion is seen when the skin scrapes or rubs against a rough surface. Road rash is one of the common examples of abrasion. There is significantly less bleeding in abrasion wounds, however, the wound should be scrubbed clean to prevent infection.
  • Laceration: A laceration wound is a deep tear or cut in the skin. These wounds are usually caused by mishandling of sharp tools or machinery. The wound bleeds faster and more extensively as well.
  • Puncture: A puncture wound is a small hole which is usually caused by a long pointy tool or other object, such as a nail, ice pick or needle. Bullets also cause puncture wounds. Puncture wounds might bleed comparatively lesser and can be deep enough to damage underlying organs. It is highly advised to seek medical help, and if possible, a tetanus booster shot to avoid infection.
  •  Avulsion: Avulsion wounds can be partial or complete tears in the skin and tissue. Avulsion wounds are seen mostly after severe accidents, such as gunshots, explosions and road accidents.

How are Wounds treated?

Small and minor wounds can be effectively treated with washing them and disinfecting them for debris and dirt. Direct pressures should be applied to manage the bleeding and swelling effectively. Wrap the wound using a sterile and clean bandage or dressing. Very small wounds are advised to be left open (without dressing) to het healed naturally. It is advised to keep the wound dry for around 5-6 days and let the body have sufficient rest.

In case there is pain in the wound, it is advised to take a mild over-the-counter painkiller. In case of bruising or swelling, apply ice and avoid scabs as well. It is also advised to wear sufficient protection against the sun when stepping out of the house.

However, in other cases, it is highly advised to seek immediate medical attention, such as when:

  • A wound is deeper than ½ inch
  • A wound bleeds constantly
  • Bleeding lasts for more than 20 minutes
  • Bleeding is caused from a serious accident

What are the treatments for ideal Wound Management?

The doctor may use various techniques to treat a wound. Once the wounded area is cleaned, the doctor might numb the area with a local anesthetic in case an open wound needs to be stitched, glued or sutured close. The doctor may also give a tetanus shot in case of a puncture wound.

Other medical treatments used in wound management include penicillin for preventing infection and painkillers for relieving the constant pain. In certain cases, the doctor might have to perform a surgery. In case a body part gets severed it is advised to bring the said body part along to the hospital for possible reattachment, by wrapping it in wet gauze and packed surrounded by ice.

There are usually bandages or dressings that are applied over the wounds once they are treated. Always wash hands before cleaning the wound or changing the dressing. Remember to dispose of the used bandages/dressings properly in plastic bags.

What are the possible complications from improper Wound Management?

Infection is one of the most common complications resulting from improper wound management. Call the doctor immediately in case of a puncture wound or a serious accident if the wound shows signs of infection. Infection may result in constant bleeding accompanied by swelling, pain and redness in the region.

An infection also causes the wounded area to become dark and dry and often enlarges in size. Other signs of infection include:

  • Increased drainage
  • Thick brown, green or yellow pus
  • Foul smelling pus
  • Prolonged fever with temperatures over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Tender lump in groin or armpit
  • Unhealed wound

The doctor will prescribe an effective antibiotic in case the infection develops from bacteria. In serious cases, surgery might be used to remove the infected tissue and a margin of the surrounding healthy tissue to prevent the infection from spreading.

These are several other commonly seen complications resulting from an improperly treated wound:

  • Lockjaw from bacterial infection can cause tetanus
  • Risk of gangrene
  • Gas gangrene
  • cellulitis (skin infection)

How effective is Wound Management?

Proper wound management of large and small sized wounds is important for effective treatment. It is vital to take quick action. Although some wounds can be treated at home, it is important to realize when the wound needs professional medical help and consult a doctor as soon as possible. This ensures proper wound management and preventing the various complications that are seen otherwise.

Ideal wound management involves recognizing the type of wound and the ideal treatment it needs. Professional medical care of a serious wound on time can result in successful treatment of the wound and prevention of complications that might have resulted from it.