Be it post-operative care or a simple wound, care needs to be taken to prevent it from getting further infected to aid faster healing. As Dr. Shabana Saleem an MBBS, DNB (Family Medicine) puts it, “Dressings improve the normal wound healing process of a patient.”
Many a times we have a cut or a bruise which maybe minor and we tend to over look it. Be it big or small, depending upon the wound, dressing and cleaning of the wound is of utmost importance. Dr. Shabana gives us reasons for doing wound dressing at home:
- It protects the wound.
- It gives relief from pain.
- It speeds up the process of healing.
- The wound heals faster as it is in direct contact with the topical medicines.
- It reduces the secretions.
- It prevent stitches or clips catching on clothing
Changing the dressing
1) You can leave the original dressing in place for up to three days (or as advised by your surgeon/ doctor) providing that it’s dry and not soaked with blood.
2) Before you remove the dressing, wash your hands with soap and water and then carefully take the dressing off. Try not to touch the healing wound with your fingers.
Proper hand washing
One has to clean the hands before changing the dressing preferably using an alcohol based cleaner like Sterillium. Sterillium is a Rub-In Hand Disinfectant that is used mainly in medical institutions as it helps in disinfecting hands of bacteria, anti-biotic, fungi and other disease producing micro-organisms. You can check with your doctor whether any other commercially available hand sanitizer will be a good substitute to Sterillium.
a) Take off all jewellery or accessories like rings, watches, bracelets, bangles of your hands.
b) Ensuring that all parts of the hand are washed like in between the fingers, back of the hands, the thumb and under the nails.
3) The hospital may give you a replacement dressing for you to use at home. Apply the dressing carefully and don’t touch the inside of the bandage.
Tips on Dressing a Wound
- It is always better to change the dressing after the bath.
- Keep all the items required for the dressings close by and easily reachable.
- Always have someone to help you while dressing, to open packets and the bottles.
- The patient should not be wearing tight clothing.
- Wear sterile gloves if available.
- Keep all items like medicated ointment and solutions as ordered by the physician, dressings and applicators as needed, plastic disposable bag, tape, antiseptic solution and instruments if needed.
- Clean the wound with sterile forceps and cotton or gauze using circular motion beginning at the center of the wound and extending outward.
- Once you do the sterile dressing and apply the tape.
- Wash hands after the procedure.
If you liked this, you may also want to know more about The Importance of Having a First Aid Kit at Home.