First Aid and Disinfecting Wounds
While all the seasons have their fair share of cuts, bruises, and scrapes, we feel most minor injuries occur before winter settles in to stay. It can be scary as a parent when you child comes home from the park or a friend’s house bruised or with a large scrape from falling off of a skateboard, but luckily most scratches and road burn aren’t serious anymore. Not too long ago, infections were a lethal sentence, but now in developed nations like Canada they don’t pose too much of a risk. However, that doesn’t mean a wound should just be left oozing and uncleaned!
Step One: Disinfect. Whether you’re out in the woods or just in the backyard, it’s important to clean any wounds thoroughly. You’ll want to remove any obvious dirt and rinse out the injury. We recommend a saline (salt-water) solution with just under 1% salt. Tap water is also fine if nothing else in on hand. When I was kid, a lot of parents used iodine, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect wounds. None of these are recommended anymore, and they can actually cause pain, discomfort, and issues like cell death with little gain. We’d also like to take a moment to remind people never to pee on their injuries. We’ve all heard about it in media or have seen it in movies, but pee is not sterile and is not and never will be a disinfectant.
Step Two: Treat. After the wound is clean, it time to add a topical antibiotic like polysporin. There are many varieties, so feel free to come in and ask our pharmacists about which product would work best for you. These ointments prevent bacteria growth and keep your injury nice and moist. Contrary to popular belief, a slightly moist wound will actually heal faster! This is why we recommend not leaving cut and scrapes to air out unless they’re very minor.
Step Three: Dressing. As with most things, you’ll have to use your common sense for this one. A tiny paper cut or a light rug burn will probably be fine, but generally it’s advisable to dress any wounds you have. Dressing involves using a sterile material often bandages, bandaids, or gauze to help keep a wound moist and safe from contaminants. There is a huge variety of dressings available and each is best suited for a particular task. At Medicine Shoppe, we hope you always feel welcome to ask any of our helpful staff what supplies would work best for you.
Remember the most important part of wound care is keeping your injury clean! Change the dressing regularly and add more polysporin (or alternative) as necessary. We really hope you won’t need this article, but if you do, we hope you find it useful all the same.