An open wound is caused by an injury to the skin. Just about everyone will suffer from an open wound at some point in their lives. Fortunately, most open wounds are minor and can be treated in the home. When it comes to open wounds, there are a few types:
- Abrasion: An abrasion occurs when the skin scrapes against a hard, rough surface. One of the most common types of abrasions is road rash. When you have an abrasion there won’t be a lot of bleeding, however, you would need to care for the wound properly to remove all of the dirt and debris.
- Laceration: A laceration is a tear in the skin or a deep cut. These types of wounds often occur if you have an accident with a knife, a tool, or a piece of machinery. If the laceration is deep enough, it can result in serious and rapid bleeding.
- Puncture Wounds: Puncture wounds are caused when a pointy, long object goes into the skin. Some common objects that cause puncture wounds include nails, needles, ice picks, and even bullets. There isn’t always a great deal of bleeding from a puncture wound, however, these wounds can go deep enough to damage internal organs.
- Avulsion: An avulsion is the most dangerous of all the open wounds. It is when the skin and the tissue beneath tears off completely or partially. These injuries often occur during bone crushing accidents, violent accidents, bullet wounds, gunshots, and even explosions. These wounds will bleed rapidly and heavily, and they can be deadly.
If you have any of the open wounds listed above, it is important that you know what to do.
#1 Access the Wound
The first thing that you should do after you are injured is access the wound. You should be able to tell which type of wound you have based on how it occurred. There are a few circumstances where you should avoid trying to treat the wound yourself and you should see a doctor.
- If the open would in deeper than ½ inch
- If you put direct pressure on the wound and the bleeding doesn’t stop
- If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 20 minutes
- If the wound occurred in a serious accident where other injuries could have occurred
- If the wound was a puncture wound, you should see a doctor. You might need a tetanus shot.
#2 Cleaning the Wound
To clean the wound, you will need hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Hydrogen peroxide is better because it doesn’t sting as much. Start by flushing the wound out with water to remove as much of the dirt and debris as possible. Next, pour the peroxide or rubbing alcohol directly on the wound. To clean out the remaining debris, use a gauze pad to wipe out the wound. Be sure to get as much of the dirt out as possible.
#3 Dressing the Wound
What you use to dress the wound would depend on the size. If it is small enough, you can use a band-aid. If the wound is large, you would be better off dressing it with a gauze pad and medical tape. Before dressing the wound, you should put antibacterial cream on the pad so that it lines up directly with the wound. This will prevent infection. Be sure to change the dressing regularly and clean it with peroxide or rubbing alcohol each time.
If you have any type of open wound, you should clean it and dress it properly to keep it from getting infected. If it is severe, seek medical attention immediately.