When a child gets a scrape or cut, no matter how bad it is, they usually ask for a bandage. As it turns out, kids may be on to something. You may have heard that it's best to leave wounds uncovered so they can get air. However, as it turns out, it's almost always best to bandage up your scrapes and cuts.
Reasons to cover your wounds
One of the most important parts of wound care is preventing an infection. Even a minor infection can become dangerous. Covering your wounds can help keep dirt and germs away. It can also keep these injuries from getting worse or reopening.
Bandages provide cushioning and protection. If you're worried about scars, bandages can also keep your skin from drying out and forming one.
When can you leave a wound uncovered?
Minor cuts and scrapes should be fine to leave uncovered. However, if they are in a location, like your hands, where they are exposed to germs frequently, you’ll probably want to use a bandage. Also, if they are in a place where your clothing or shoes rub against them.
When in doubt, cover your wounds just to be safe.
Changing your bandages
It takes some time for scrapes, cuts and wounds to heal. So how often should you change your bandage? Many doctors recommend changing your bandage daily. Also, if the bandage gets wet or dirty, try to change it as soon as possible.
More tips for healthy wound care
In addition to bandaging your scrapes and cuts, here are some more tips for preventing infections and helping your wounds heal as quickly as possible:
- Always wash your hands before touching your wounds or changing your bandages.
- Before you apply a bandage, use cool water to remove any dirt or germs that may be stuck to your scrape.
- Keep an eye out for signs of infection. This includes the skin around the wound becoming red or warm to the touch, swelling, pain, fever or drainage from the wound.
- Don't apply a bandage until the wound has stopped bleeding. Most minor cuts and scrapes only bleed for a few minutes. If the bleeding doesn't stop on its own, cover the wound with some gauze or a bandage and apply pressure for a few minutes.
When you should see a doctor
If you think your wound might be infected, it's time to see a doctor. An infection is dangerous because it can spread to your blood and then travel throughout your body.
You should also see a doctor if the wound doesn't stop bleeding. If it is thick or deep, or you can see bone or muscle, stitches will be required. When something punctures deep into your skin, you should also see your doctor. Numbness around the wound, wounds from animal bites and wounds on your face are all situations that need a doctor's care as well.
Want to learn more useful ways to prevent infections and help wounds heal? Find a Bon Secours physician near you and schedule an appointment today.