How To Treat Different Types Of Wounds
The human body is resilient. It has ways of protecting us from injury. Even if we do get injured, it has its own incredible system of healing. Minor wounds can damage your skin cells, but they can heal within a few days with time and little treatment. Most wounds are shallow and are limited to the outer layers of the skin only, but some may go deeper and reach underlying organs and tissues. Depending on the site, depth and cause, some wounds may be simple while others may be life threatening. With this oneHOWTO article, knowing how to treat different types of wounds means knowing what to do to prevent the latter from happening.
An incision is a wound identified by a clean cut on the skin, usually caused by contact with a sharp object, such as a kitchen knife, broken glass, scissors, etc. Surgical incision is also an example of an incision wound. Such wounds heal very quickly as compared to other wound types, probably because of their smooth edges. There are also minimal chances of scarring in these types of wounds, but scarring can occur.
Treatment - always keep your incision dry and clean. Follow these instructions to promote healing, reduce scarring and minimize risk of infection:
- Never touch your incision without washing your hands.
- If the incision bleeds, cover it with a clean towel or tissue and apply pressure for a few minutes
- Do not wear tight clothes, as they may rub on the incision.
- An incision may feel itchy as it heals. Avoid scratching it. If the itching worsens, consult your doctor as it may be a sign of infection.
- If you have staples or stitches over your incision, they will dissolve over time or the doctor will remove them once your wound heals. Do not tug, pull or rub your stitches.
A laceration is a wound caused due to tissue tearing. Skin is tough yet flexible, and it needs immense force to let a laceration take place. Because very high force is usually involved, it also frequently causes damage to other deeper tissues of the body, such as tendons, nerves, internal organs, blood vessels, muscles, bones, etc. Most lacerations occur on bony areas of the body like hips, knees and elbows. Since it causes torn and jagged edges of skin, it heals slowly and has more chances of scarring.
Treatment - follow these steps to treat a laceration:
- Since a laceration is deep and involves much damage, it usually involves lot of bleeding. It is important to stop the bleeding first. This can be done by raising the bleeding area above heart level and putting pressure on it.
- Once bleeding stops, wash the wound with mild soap and warm water.
- If the wound is too wide or deep, it would require stitches for which you have to seek professional help.
- Smaller lacerations that do not need stitches can be healed with application antiseptic ointment at regular intervals of time.
- Watch for signs of infection, which include redness, swelling, pus and pain in the area.
An abrasion occurs when the skin gets scraped off by rubbing against a rough surface or other types of friction. Knees and elbows that have thin skin are most susceptible to receive such wounds. Such wounds can be serious if your abrasion is too deep or wide. It can be quite painful, and may require skin grafting to replace the skin you lost. Scarring is a major issue with abrasions, and it can stay on your body for your entire lifetime.
Treatment: Treatment of an abrasion commonly includes cleaning of the wound with an antiseptic, and then covering it with dry dressing and an antibiotic ointment. Because an abrasion can quickly become infected, it is important to clean the wound properly and remove any debris and dirt from it. But don’t rub the area vigorously, as it may cause further tissue damage.
An avulsion is a serious wound that involves tearing of the skin from tissues attached to it. It usually occurs when the skin catches on an object while the body is moving. For instance, it can occur when you hand gets trapped in moving machinery. Shearing force is applied in such injury which separates the tissue planes, rupture the vascular interconnections and causes ischaemia.
An avulsion may be extensive and involve one or more tissue planes. It often takes place between deep fascia and the skin fat. Many times, surgery is required to reattach the skin. If that’s not possible, skin grafting is used to restore the lost tissue. A medical professional will be required to treat an avulsion.
Treatment: Avulsion often has risk of devascularization in the tissue, and its treatment usually involves removal of that tissue and coverage of the affected skin. Treatment of an avulsion includes:
- First of all, control bleeding by elevating the area and applying pressure.
- Rinse the injury with saline solution or warm water.
- If the skin is not torn away completely, replace the skin flap and tie the dressing. If the skin is completely removed from the body, collect as much as you can and bring it to the emergency department along with the patient.
- Since there are high chances of infection, an avulsion almost always requires surgery.
A Puncture Wound
A puncture takes place when a narrow and/or sharp object penetrates your skin. It may involve some underlying tissues as well, as per the object’s length. As compared to an incision, a puncture has more depth than width. This means that the entry of the wound is small and often does not involve too much bleeding. If the puncture is deep enough to reach internal organs, such as a punctured lung, this can be very dangerous.
The skin surface of a puncture wound often closes quickly, but it may result in an infection underneath. Tetanus is a major cause of concern in case of puncture wounds. Such an injury may be caused when you step on a nail, if an animal bites you or if you sustain a stab wound.
Treatment - if the wound is minor, you can follow these steps to treat a puncture wound:
- Stop the bleeding by applying pressure on the area.
- Rinse the wound for 5 minutes under clear water. If any particles remain inside, dip tweezers in alcohol and remove them with it. If you are not able to remove all the debris on your own, seek medical help. For instance, if a nail went deep inside your heel, you may not be able to remove it yourself. That would need medical intervention.
- Apply thin layer of antibiotic ointment on the wound.
- Cover the wound with bandages.
- Change the dressing at least once in a day, or whenever it becomes dirty or wet.
- Watch for signs of infection.
If the puncture is severe, there is a lot of blood loss or there is a particular risk of infection, you will need to go to the emergency room to treat the injury.
When to Seek Medical Help
Most minor wounds take a week’s time to heal, only requiring simple cleaning and dressing procedures. However, some wounds are more serious and need to be treated with medical evaluation. For instance, a deep bite or puncture would require medical attention immediately. A large cut may also require professional help from a medical expert.
If the bleeding continues for more than 5-10 minutes even after applying pressure, then you should seek immediate medical care. If you received a skin wound because of significant trauma or if your injury is accompanied with loss of function and feeling, then will also need professional medical attention. Redness, pain and swelling around the wound, pus leaking and fever can be signs of infection. You should seek immediate medical help if you notice any of these signs while your injury is going through the healing process.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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