Wound dressing has a very important role in wound healing process. A proper wound dressing will promote a chance of a perfect healing. This will also minimize any possible scarring, although does not necessarily eliminate it.
Why wound dressing is needed?
Quite a long time ago, you might have been told that it is good to let your wound breathe. This was said to speed up the healing process which should go naturally. A covered wound is prone to infection as this wound cannot “breathe” and suck in the oxygen from its surrounding. Yet, various researches start to reveal that an exposing a wound is not really advisable. Instead, keeping it under a sterilized, moist dressing will promote healthier, faster healing. A moist environment is in fact, a perfect environment needed by the new skin cells to repair the damaged area. This is also an environment needed by the white blood cells which is needed to combat any interfering bacteria. An exposed wound tends to have worse scars as it is exposed to various hazardous things which are capable of breaking the forming tissues and ruining the new skin cells.
How often should I change dressing on a wound?
In order to promote a faster wound healing, you should pay attention to the wound dressing, aside from watching for the signs of infection. A wound dressing, especially on a severely opened wound is usually moist and will be full of fluids within hours. If you keep this fluid under a close dressing, infection can be triggered. To avoid this, be aware in changing your dressing based on the wound severity. Wound dressing should be changed when the fluids soak through. Should the wound does not excrete excessive fluids, change the dressings after every bath time. Ideally, wound dressings should be changed before any fluids soak through the gauze, since this might cause difficulty in peeling the gauze from the wounded area. When the gauze is adhered to the wound, you are likely to put more effort to take it out. As a result, you might break your newly-formed skin, resulting in re-opened wound and probably more bleeding. Changing the dressing when you feel uncomfortable is also advisable. A loosened gauze might also be a sign that the fluids soaking the wound might have been too much and thus, the dressing needs an immediate replacement.
Changing wound dressing properly
How frequent you change your wound dressing is not the only important thing in wound healing. Changing this dressing properly without causing the wound to re-open is almost in the same degree of importance. To perform a proper wound dressing, you will need to do some procedures, such as:
- Gathering the supplies you will need to change the dressings. Gather those at once in a place which is reachable, so that you will not require too much effort the next time you need the dressing to be changed. Commonly, a wound dressing will include a wound cleanser, dressing/gauze/bandage, disposable gloves. If you are prescribed an antibiotic ointment, you will also apply it onto the wound when changing the dressing.
- Wash your hands before performing the procedure and wear the disposable gloves during the wound dressing change. Clean and sterilized hands are important in preventing bacteria transmitting into the wound.
- Remove the old dressing carefully. If it is stuck because of bleed-through, apply some wound cleanser to the dressing to help peeling it. Do this carefully to avoid potential re-opened wound. Dispose the old dressing in a plastic bag.
- Clean the wound with wound cleanser. If you are applying an antibiotics ointment prescribed by your doctor, apply it on this stage. While applying the ointment or other medications, look for any possible abnormal signs—odor, excessive drainage, increasing redness, etc., so that you might notice should an infection exists.
- Put on the new dressings. Keep this dressing as clean as possible. Keep your skin dry as well. Do not wet the dressings, as it may trap the water inside and may lead to an infection. Change the dressing whenever it feels uncomfortable or when the fluids have been soaked through.