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What’s your wound care sense? Take the quiz and see

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In previous articles we discussed different kinds of wounds and when to go to the hospital. You’ve decided you don’t need to do that, so what’s next?

The first thing you should do for any wound is control the bleeding. A clean cloth or gauze will do the trick. Five to 10 minutes of gentle pressure is usually enough to control bleeding in a minor wound. If the blood spurts, apply pressure but go to an Emergency Room. This means the bleeding is coming from an artery and more blood can be lost than if it was coming from a vein.

1. True or False: You should use a tourniquet above the wound for any bleeding area.

Answer: False. If you can control the bleeding with pressure alone, there is no need to use a tourniquet. Do some homework now so you will know how to use one if necessary.

Once the bleeding has stopped, rinse the wound for at least five minutes under cool running water to remove loose dirt and debris. It is extremely important to get the dirt out, so follow the rinse with a thorough cleanse.

2. True or False: The best thing to use to clean a wound is alcohol or peroxide.

Answer: False. Research has shown that good old mild soap and water work just as well as painful antiseptic cleansers, which can even damage the skin tissue and delay healing. Go for the soap.

3. True or False: You should keep the wound moist for better healing.

Answer: True. No more keeping it open to the air to help dry it out. After cleansing, apply an adhesive strip (like a Bandaid) or a non-adherent pad (like Telfa) held on by tape or roll gauze.

Leaving it open subjects it to germs from the environment or re-injury from rubbing against clothes and other objects.

4. True or False: Neosporin can cause a skin reaction, so it may be best not to use it.

Answer: True. Neosporin on every scratch is unnecessary and can even be detrimental.

One of the ingredients in Neosporin, neomycin, can cause sensitivity reactions. When that happens, it’s difficult to determine if the wound is infected or if it’s a reaction from the ointment. If you care for your wound well, then it should be fine, but if you experience any redness, swelling, tenderness or warmth, or if it is draining a thick yellow substance (pus), call a doctor. If the symptoms are mild, try an antibiotic ointment that does not contain neomycin. If it gets worse or doesn’t heal, see a doctor. The overuse of antibiotic ointments can contribute to the development of resistant strains of bacteria, such as methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), so avoid using them, if possible. If the dressing doesn’t feel complete to you without using ointment, you can use some tried and true petroleum jelly (Vaseline).

5. True or False: When you remove an adhesive dressing, the best thing is to rip it off in one swift motion.

Answer: False. Adhesive dressings should be removed slowly and gently in the direction of hair growth.

Applying some traction to the surrounding skin might reduce the pulling feeling. If the dressing sticks to the wound, moisten it little, pulling gently as you go.

Don’t forget your tetanus shot! If it has been between five and10 years since your last one, you might need a booster.

I invite you to suggest a health care topic that might be of interest to readers. I would be happy to hear from you.

Patricia Schoch is originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania but has lived in North Carolina for 30 years. A retired nurse, children’s book author, and freelance writer, she now resides in Wake Forest. Pat can be reached at Website: