Disclaimer

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or health care professional.

WHASA makes every effort to provide information that is accurate and timely, but makes no guarantee in this regard. You should consult with, and rely only on the advice of, your health care professional.

What is a wound?

A wound is a type of injury which happens relatively quickly in which skin is torn, cut, or punctured (an open wound), or where blunt force trauma causes a contusion (a closed wound). In pathology, it specifically refers to a sharp injury which damages the dermis of the skin.

Medical professionals classify skin wounds in several ways, such as whether they are short- or long-term, and whether they are contaminated with bacteria.

These distinctions reflect differences in the nature, cause and likely course of wound, as well as treatment decisions. Short-term, open wounds are often described in 5 categories, based on the mechanism and appearance of a skin injury.

Types of wounds

Acute wounds are often described in 5 categories, based on the mechanism and appearance of a skin injury

Abrasions occur when the skin is scraped off due to rubbing against a rough surface such as a skinned knee or elbow.

Skin Avulsion, also known as degloving, is a serious injury in which the skin is torn from the tissues beneath it and typically involves the skin catching on an object.

A Puncture wound is created when a sharp, slender object penetrates the skin and possibly the underlying tissues.

An Incision wound refers to a clean cut in the skin caused by a sharp object such as a kitchen knife.

A laceration refers to an injury caused by tissue tearing often with damage to other deeper tissue such as bones and muscles.

Wound Care

Basic principles of wound care include

  1. If a patient has pain and painkillers are available, give them to the patient 20 minutes before the procedure to limit procedural pain.
  2. Put a linen saver or a very clean towel underneath the area with a wound to establish a clean area to work on.
  3. Remove the current dressings from the wound bed and discard it all into a separate plastic bag that will serve as rubbish bag for all the rest of the materials that needs to be thrown away. Remember the colour seen on the dressing, to record it later.
  4. Wash hands again, dry well and wear gloves when doing the clean procedure
  5. Pour cleansing solution little by little over the wound and dab the wound bed dry with clean gauze. Do not rub the wound bed.
  6. If fluid is flushed over the wound bed with a syringe or out of a clean pour bottle, it is necessary to have a fluid collection container underneath to prevent the bed from getting wet.
  7. The solution recommended for cleansing open wounds is Saline 0.9% solution.
  8. Saline can be made at home by boiling water, cool to room temperature and adding a teaspoon of table sale. Remember to mix to completely dissolve.
  9. Lightly dry the wound bed after cleansing with clean gauze.
  10. Put the ointment or cream on top of the new dressing (if it is gauze), then put it with the ointment side facing down on top of the wound bed. Press the gauze slightly to get an even spread of ointment over the wound bed.
  11. Bandages are recommended to secure the dressing if the wound is situated on arms or legs. Plasters are recommended to secure the dressing to other body parts.
  12. Keep a record on a sheet of paper where it can be written when the wound was done, by whom, what ointment was used, what color the wound bed was, what it smelt like, if the size was getting smaller and what the patient complained about.
  13. Burn the refuge bag that holds all the soiled dressings and DO NOT dump it into the municipal waste system.