Whenever you have a wound, such as a minor cut or a major incision, it’s crucial to care for it properly. Part of the process includes wound care dressings. There are a variety of things to consider when it comes to wound care. Taking proper care of your wound will help it heal.
Your healthcare provider may show you how to clean and dress the wound. He or she will also explain how to tell if the wound is healing normally. If you are unsure of how to take care of the wound, be sure to clarify what dressing to use and how often you should change the bandages.
Basic wound care guide
Wash your hands
Tips for washing your hands include:
- Use liquid soap and lather for 2 minutes. Scrub between your fingers and under your nails.
- Rinse with warm water, keeping your fingers pointing down.
- Use a paper towel to dry your hands and to turn off the faucet.
Remove the used dressing
Here are suggestions for removing the dressing:
- If dressing changes cause you pain, be sure to take your pain medicine as prescribed by your healthcare provider 30 minutes before dressing changes.
- Set up your supplies such as cotton, gloves and bandage.
- Put on disposable gloves if the wound care is for someone else or your wound is infected.
- Loosen the tape or plaster by pulling gently toward the wound.
- Gently take off the old dressing. However, if the dressing is stuck to the wound, moisten it with saline (if available) or clean water.
- Remove the dressing 1 layer at a time and put it in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and put it in the trash.
- Remove your gloves.
Inspect and dress the wound
Check the wound carefully:
- Each time you change the dressing, check the wound carefully. This is to be sure it’s healing normally. A healing wound should appear to be pink, dry and is also free of infection.
- Wash your hands again. Put on a new pair of gloves.
- Clean and dress the wound as directed by your healthcare provider or nurse. Don’t put anything in the wound that is not prescribed or directed by your healthcare provider.
- Put all unused supplies in a clean plastic bag. Seal the bag and store it in a clean, dry area between dressing changes.
- Be sure to wash your hands again.
- Make sure to eat properly. Because your body needs good food to fuel the healing process.
- Include foods rich in vitamin C in your diet.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables eaten daily.
- Have regular exercise because it increases blood flow and speeds wound healing.
- Do not smoke.
Call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider if you see signs of infection such as:
- Bleeding that soaks the dressing.
- Fluid weeping from the wound.
- Increased drainage or drainage that is yellow, yellow-green and also foul-smelling.
- Increased swelling, pain, and also redness.
- A change in the color of the wound such as streaks developing in a direction away from the wound.
- A fever of either 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
- Chills, increased fatigue, or a loss of appetite.