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A Complete Guide About How To Treat An Open Wound Correctly


An open wound can be treated at home, but if necessary, you can also seek medical advice for better and faster results. Before applying dressing or plaster, it is vital to clean an open wound properly. Wound cleaning is the process that promotes the healing process and eliminates the risk of infection. Bandaging or plaster is performed to stop the injury from bleeding. Correctly treating an open wound is more than necessary to avoid infections or serious consequences. 


What Do You Mean by An Open Wound? 

An open wound refers to a form of injury that involves an internal or external breakage of body tissue, leaving the wounded body tissue exposed. Almost everyone comes across an open wound more than once in their lives. Most open injuries are minor and can be cured with home treatment. 


The primary causes of having an open wound include accidents with sharp objects, falls, and car accidents. However, seeking professional medical advice is necessary for a severe accident. Especially if the bleeding is heavy and continues for more than 20 minutes, then consulting an experienced doctor should be your priority. 


Types of An Open Wound 


Classified according to their causes, there are four different open wounds such as: 


1. Abrasion 

When your skin scrubs or scrapes against a rough surface, it leads to the occurrence o an abrasion. A typical example of abrasion can be road rash. Although there is no heavy bleeding, in this case, it requires proper wound cleaning to reduce the risk of infection. 


2. Laceration 

It is called a laceration when your skin experiences a deep cut or tear. Some common instances of laceration involve accidents with sharp objects like knives, machinery, and tools. Severe lacerations can cause extensive and quick bleeding.  


3. Puncture 

A pointy and long object such as a needle or nail can cause a tiny hole in your skin called a puncture. Sometimes, a puncture wound can also happen because of a bullet. In case of a puncture, consult your doctor to receive a tetanus shot and stop the infection. 


4. Avulsion 

The complete or partial tearing away of skin and its underneath tissues is called avulsion. Violent accidents such as explosions, body-crushing, and gunshots lead to avulsions. Avulsion involves quick and heavy bleeding. 


How Are Open Wounds Treated? 

If your wound or injury is minor, then you can quickly treat it at home by following some simple steps such as: 


Step 1: Use soap to wash your hands, so you don’t get an infection. 


Step 2: Apply direct pressure and elevation on the wound to check the bleeding and swelling. 


Step 3: Wash the wound well and clean it using an antiseptic liquid to eliminate all the debris and dirt. 


Step 4: Put an antibiotic ointment or cream on the wound. 


Step 5: Utilize a sterile bandage or dressing to shield the injured spot. 


Some minor wounds recover quickly without even using a bandage. However, you must ensure that the wounded spot is kept clean and dry for five days. Also, take a lot of rest after the injury to encourage a faster healing process. 


There will also be a pain in the wound; to get rid of the pain, you can use acetaminophen (Tylenol) as per the package instructions. Avoid using products containing aspirin because, in that case, the bleeding may linger. 


If you face swelling or bruising, you should not pick up scabs and use ice to control them. If you are going outdoors, apply a good quality sunscreen with SPF 30 until the healing process is complete. 


When To See a Doctor? 

Although it is possible to treat minor wounds with home care, it is essential to visit a doctor if you come across the following situations: 


  • If the injury is more profound than ½ or a half inch. 
  • The bleeding continues even after giving direct pressure. 
  • The bleeding lingers on for more than 20 minutes. 
  • Some serious accident has led to heavy bleeding. 


Medical Treatment for Open Wounds 

Doctors apply several techniques to treat an open wound. Once the injured area is numbed and washed, the doctor may use stitches, skin glues, and sutures to close the wound. In case of a puncture wound, the doctor may also deliver you a tetanus shot. 


Based on the wound’s location and risks for infection, the doctor may leave the damage to let it recover naturally. This technique is called healing by secondary intention, from the wound’s base to its superficial epidermis. In this process, you may require to wrap your wound with gauze. Although the healing process may appear ugly, it eliminates the risk of infections and abscess formation. 


Another method called pain medication is also applied to treat open wounds. In this case, the doctor advises you to take penicillin or any other antibiotic if the area is infected or has a high chance of getting infected. Even you may need surgery in some cases. 


While leaving a doctor’s chamber, you may have dressings and bandages. Cleaning your hands and operating on a clean surface is crucial when changing bandages and dressings. Before applying a new dressing, carefully clean and dry the wound, and put used bandages and dressings in plastic bags for disposal.


Final Verdict

Whether your open wound is minor or significant, the open wound treatment should be done quickly. Although the treatments of some minor open injuries can be performed successfully at home, there can be severe cases, too, where professional medical care becomes necessary. Don’t hesitate to receive proper medical attention if the wound is too deep or there is a lot of bleeding. It will guarantee an appropriate treatment and decrease the chances of getting an infection or further complications. 


Medanta Medical Team
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