Clean and Dress a Wound
Edited by Olivia, Eng, Lynn, Sobi and 3 others
A wound is an injury to tissue (this article will focus on skin) that may be caused from a sharp or blunt object, pressure ulcers (decubitus ulcers), burns, or friction, to name a few.
Depending on the type of wound, the severity of the wound and the general health of the patient, these are all factors that come into play when deciding the best type of wound care to use.
There are currently numerous choices for different dressings and cleaning solutions. The purpose of cleaning the wound is to minimize or preferably eliminate infection. Cleaning removes loose debris and bacteria, and provides an optimal environment for healing. It also allows you to see the wound and make any needed changes in wound care. Depending on the wound type and if a physician is needed, they will write orders on how she/he wants the wound care done. In more severe cases, a physician will defer to the wound care specialist's expertise and she/he will choose the best type of wound care.
The purpose of wound care is to remove debris and contaminants without damaging healthy tissue and to promote optimal healing.
What Are the Different Types of Wounds?
- 1Abrasions: An abrasion is superficial damage to the first layer of skin. They are usually caused by scraping against something, like skinning your knee on the road. Abrasions may cover a small area of skin like your knee or it can encompass a large area, for example from road rash from laying a motorcycle down and sliding along the road.Advertisement
- 4Decubitus ulcer: Also known as bedsores/pressure ulcers. These are injuries to skin and underlying tissue and are caused by disrupted blood circulation, resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. They usually develop on skin that covers bony areas, such as; elbows, heels, ankles, hips and tailbone. 
Treatments for different types of wounds
- Different types of wounds require different types of care. Knowing what to use and what not to use aids in optimal healing.
- All wounds should be cleaned and removal of foreign materials if possible. Some require flushing, some require debridement, and some require sutures. Some wounds require special cleaning solutions, dressings, and medications to wound beds.
- How the wound itself is cleaned can make a difference as to whether bacteria in introduced into the wound bed or not. For example; Linear-shaped wound (such as an incision), gently wipe from top to bottom in one motion, starting directly over the wound and moving outward on both sides.
- Always start from least dirty to most dirty. For open wound (such as a pressure ulcer), gently wipe in circles, starting directly over the wound and moving outward. When cleaning wounds, sometimes numerous pieces of gauze are used to prevent continued contamination of the area.
How to Clean and Dress Minor Cuts and Scrapes.
- 1Wash your hands thoroughly: By washing your hands, you are eliminating the chances of infecting the wound that you will care for. Use gloves to protect yourself and to keep from contaminating the wound further. Never touch the wound directly with your hands.