Dressing A Wound And Follow-Up

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Why are dressings important, you ask? Especially when you have bandages? Some people ask why we have bandages when there are dressings.

Dressings are designed such that they absorb the blood and serum coming out of the wound at the same time maintain sterility around the wound. Bandages on the other hand are to augment the effect of dressings by hold them in place and apply pressure where needed.

Dressings are designed and should be applied in such a way that they maintain an optimal hydration of the wound margins i.e. a wound is not supposed to be too wet or completely dry.

It is common practice to use non-adherent dressings on sutured or stapled lacerations. Especially for the first 2 days. This helps in proper "epithelization" which in turn prevents contamination of the wound by external agents.

Some researches and doctors suggest that antibiotic ointments (polysporin, bacitracin etc) help in decreasing infection in a wound. Care should however, be taken when using such ointments and these should always be used after consultation with a doctor.

Abrasions usually require to be treated with an occlusive or semi-occlusive antibiotic dressing. This could help in prevention of infection and decrease pain in the wound.

It is the doctors' job and responsibility to instruct patients correctly and clearly for proper wound care, once discharged. The wound, even after visible repair should be kept clean and dry. After approximately 2 days a patient should be able to clean the wound with water and soap. Take care to not rub the wound dry. Wounds are sensitive even after apparent healing. Wound areas should be patted dry for some time.

It is not advised that glued wounds be kept wet for long. This means that a patient should not indulge in anything that requires the wound to be immersed in water for long. This advice is actually beneficial for all wounds. If left wet for long, "dehiscence" of the wound may occur.

Doctors should also explain the signs of infection to patients. Clinics or hospitals usually have a leaflet on wound care for patients. Make use of this leaflet and in case of confusion contact your doctor.

Doctors should also detail to patients the frequency of change of dressing, which should include the types of dressings and bandages that can be used or should not be used.

Although it is a doctors job to guide and instruct a patient to proper wound care. This does not absolve patients of exercising some common sense when caring for their wounds, such as getting ample rest, staying hydrated, avoiding unnecessary exertion etc.

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