Saturday, May 04, 2019

Public Service Announcement

I have a lot to catch you up on, dear readers, but before before I post about the fun stuff I've been doing lately, I feel obligated to tell you about a critical life skill that my doctor friend taught me years and years ago: proper wound care.

That's right; you heard me. Dr. Duncan's expert medical care* has literally saved my skin countless times, the most important of which was the time I got hit by a car. Because of his instruction, I was able to take good care of the cuts and scrapes I had all over my feet, and there are no scars at all! Seriously! And just two days ago, I cut my thumb, and it's already healing very nicely.

First, some basics:
  • Hydrogen peroxide is a wound care four-letter word. Do NOT use hydrogen peroxide on any cuts or scrapes. I'm not sure how, but it's become the go-to cleaner for people, and it's a terrible idea. In addition to killing bacteria, it damages healthy tissue. And . . .
  • You want to save healthy tissue!
  • Saving healthy tissue means keeping it moist and protected from new bacteria. That means you should keep your wound moist and covered! Don't let it scab over! (This is the quickest way to cause scarring.)
  • The key to helping your skin heal (and reducing scarring) is gently removing necrotic tissue (i.e., "dead" or "white" tissue) and exposing granulation tissue. Granulation tissue is new vascular tissue on an ulcer or the healing surface of a wound. In a normal cut or scrape, it's the pink tissue you see underneath the white (i.e., dead) tissue around the wound.
Okay. That should be enough to give you some step-by-step instruction.
  1. Gently clean the wound with regular soap and water. If you don't have soap on hand, just use water. (See the first bullet point above.)
  2. Gently clear away dead tissue to expose the pink granulation tissue beneath. You can use gauze, a paper towel, or a soft cloth for this. It's okay if you can't remove all the dead tissue, esp. if it hurts. Just try the best you can.
  3. Pat the area dry (Do not blow!) and apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly. You can use antibiotic cream, such as Neosporin, but some people are allergic to the active ingredient in Neosporin, so it really is best to use plain petroleum jelly. I use the cheap Walgreen's brand.
  4. Put a bandage on it, and keep it covered! I like the Band-Aid brand, and I prefer the flexible fabric kind, but lately, I've been super into 3M's Nexcare waterproof bandages because they have an amazing seal and keep the dry, bacteria-filled air out!
  5. Repeat all of these steps at least once a day. I like to dress my wounds in the morning after I shower and at night before going to bed. If it's a tricky wound to dress, though, then once a day is alright; just make sure you apply lots of petroleum jelly and use a bandage that is going to stay in place.

If you follow these steps, you'll be amazed at how quickly your wounds heal and how much you can reduce scarring. Honestly, I might post pictures on here next time I cut myself -- and detail each day's healing progress. Or I'll take a video of me cleaning and dressing my wound. That would be totally gross and awesome. :)


*He really is an expert. He completed a rotation at a burn clinic once upon a time and learned from the best wound care physicians in the industry.


Thing I'm thankful for: medical experts. They really do make life so, so, so much better. Thanks, Nick!

2 Comments:

Blogger cardlady said...

I learn new and interesting stuff from you, all the time! Thanks!

8:15 AM  
Blogger JessicaW said...

I wished I had known this before I burned myself a couple of months ago. I have an ugly scar!

8:44 PM  

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