“Not all wounds are created equal, and no doubt they are all painful,” says Betsy Novakovich, RN, Supervisor of NCH Marco Urgent Care. “Different wounds may require different types of care, and all wounds heal differently.”
A wound is a sudden, unplanned injury to the skin that can range from minor, such as a skinned knee, to severe, such as a deep cut. Wounds include abrasions, lacerations, skin tears, bites, burns, and penetrating trauma wounds.
As the skin ages, the epidermis becomes thin and fragile, leaving it more susceptible to trauma that even the slightest bump or knock can damage. “This makes skin tears and lacerations a common problem among the aging population and can affect their quality of life,” says Betsy Novakovich. “The NCH Marco Urgent Care is trained to treat these kinds of wounds and can help you feel better.”
How To Prevent Skin Tears:
- Pad sharp corners on furniture.
- Wear clothing with long sleeves and long pants, as weather permits.
- Be careful when removing tapes and adhesive dressings: gently grasping one edge and slowly peeling the dressing back rather than up, in the direction of the hair growth.
- Use a moisturizer to protect the skin.
- Drink plenty of water.
How To Treat Minor Skin Tears and Lacerations:
- Wash your hands. This helps avoid infection.
- Stop the bleeding. Minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding on their own. If needed, apply gentle pressure with a clean bandage or cloth and elevate the wound until bleeding stops.
- Clean the wound. Rinse the wound with water. Keeping the wound under running tap water will reduce the risk of infection. Wash around the wound with soap, but don’t get soap in the wound. Never use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or iodine, which can be irritating.
- Cover the wound. Apply a bandage, rolled gauze or gauze held in place with paper tape. Covering the wound keeps it clean. If the injury is just a minor scrape or scratch, leave it uncovered.
- Get a tetanus shot. Receive a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one in the past 5 years and the wound is deep or dirty.
- Watch for signs of infection. See a doctor if you see signs of infection on the skin or near the wound, such as redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth or swelling.
See your healthcare provider if you see any of the following signs of a problem:
- Bleeding that soaks the dressing
- Pink fluid weeping from the wound
- Increased drainage or drainage that is yellow, yellow-green, or foul-smelling
- Increased swelling or pain, or redness or swelling in the skin around the wound
- A change in the color of the wound, or if streaks develop in a direction away from the wound
- An increase in the size of the wound
- A fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
- Chills, increased fatigue, or a loss of appetite
If you need immediate attention, the Marco Urgent Care is open 8 AM – 7:30 PM, seven days a week and is located at 40 Heathwood Dr., Marco Island, or call 239–624-8540.