(Content courtesy of BAND-AID.)
Perhaps you can relate to some of the things I’ve said to patients, family members and friends over the years about postop wounds.
“Let’s just keep that wound open to air and let it breathe.”
“That’s great, look at that nice dry scab. That means it is on its way to healing. You’re doing a great job!”
“Let’s try some alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on that open wound. That will clean it out well and should do the trick.”
“I’m glad you are going to the beach. The sun will do that wound some good.”
Do any of these recommendations sound familiar to you?
If you are nodding your head right now, I must tell you they are all just old wives tales.
Based on clinical research and best practices, here are the facts that have changed my tune when talking about postop wounds.
• Clean, moist and covered wounds heal faster, have less chance of infection and reduce the incidence of scabbing and scarring.
• When a scab dries out, the healing process takes longer and scarring is more possible. It should be kept clean, moist and covered.
• Irritants like hydrogen peroxide and alcohol may delay the healing process. Wounds should be gently cleaned and dried with sterile products before applying a dressing.
• Keeping a postop wound out of the sun is important since ultraviolet rays slow the healing process and can discolor the skin.
Our patients, family members and friends depend on us for accurate suggestions and practical solutions when it comes to their health and well-being – and especially when it comes to wound care.
I try to live and learn each and every day, and these are lessons I won’t soon forget.
Resources for nurses
Resource sheet: Print and share
Pamphlet: Wound care pocket guide for nurses
Prepare for the CWCN exam with the Wound Care Nursing Certification Review Course.
Nurse.com offers a fully online self-paced prep course.