Frequently Asked Questions on Wound Care


Is it okay to get my wound wet in the shower?
Getting your wound wet is a matter of concern when you have exposed bones, staples, or stitches. If you have been told to keep it dry by your doctor, it is advisable to cover your wound when taking a shower. You can use a plastic bag to keep the wound dry while you shower.
Should I be concerned if an area of my skin shows a change in color?
In many cases a change is usually harmless and can be ignored. But, if there is redness on your skin then you should be concerned. You should keep an eye on this change and check it daily. A handy way to monitor changes is to mark the edges so you can tell if it’s growing or shrinking. Redness might require you to pay a visit to your doctor, so at the very least you should call and consult them on any skin color changes.
What role does diabetes play in wound healing?
Blood sugar must be kept low when a wound is healing. Elevated blood sugar levels can slow or completely prevent the healing process. Your doctor can help you keep this in check.
What do you recommend - keeping a wound exposed or covered?
Keeping a wound covered helps it heal faster. That is why a doctor covers a wound with a wound dressing. The dressing supplies the right balance of moisture required for healing and enables the beneficial bacteria to function and thus, prevents infection. The healing cells are also able to cover the wound with new smooth tissue faster.

Covering a wound also reduces the chance of scarring. It helps prevent scabbing, as well as protects the wound from the sun. The earlier belief was to let a wound be exposed to the air and allow a scab to form. But the scab can slow the healing process. And on falling off, it leaves a visible mark.
What is the significance of the terms ‘antimicrobial’ and ‘antibacterial’ in relation to Wound Care?
Antimicrobial refers to properties of an agent that has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Antibacterial refers to properties of an agent that destroys bacteria or suppresses their growth or their ability to reproduce. Both of these properties are important when caring for a wound.
How does one differentiate between an antiseptic and an antibiotic?
An antiseptic solution helps clean wounds, getting rid of germs and dirt. And an antibiotic is what provides protection to a wound from developing infections. It offers an optimal wound healing environment.
How does hydrocolloid dressing work?
Wound exudates are absorbed by hydrocolloid dressing and turned into a gel. In some cases the cohesive gel stays within the dressing. But most of the times, the gel is less sticky and not retained within the dressing. When in the whole state, this dressing is watertight. But with the advancement of gelling, the dressing becomes porous and allows for the loss of water. This helps the dressing cope with the exudate being produced.
What are the benefits of hydrocolloid dressings?
This dressing is easy to use and offers effective occlusion. It has a softening effect on dry wounds. User needs to change the dressing every 3 to 5 days. The hydrocolloid dressing is ideal for granulating, superficial wounds with low to medium exudate. And does not cause trauma on removal.
What kind of a wound benefits from hydrocolloid wound dressing?
Some studies reveal that a hydrocolloid dressing is not suitable for medium-to-high exuding wounds and that it is more effective on low-to-medium wounds. Other studies say that this kind of dressing may even bring down the rate of exudation. How much fluid the dressing absorbs varies. Your doctor will certainly know if your wound benefits from a hydrocolloid wound dressing.
What are the chances of an injury from a burn leaving behind a scar?
All burn injuries, except first degree burns, leave behind some kind of a scar.
What causes a scar?
Changes in the skin leads to scar. For example, after a burn the skin loses part of its structure and this loss is replaced by scar tissue. All this - the thinness, the irregularity and the scar tissue - form the scar.
What is a silicone wound dressing?
A soft silicone dressing is a dressing coated with soft silicone as an adhesive or a wound contact layer. Soft silicone belongs to a specific family of solid silicones which are soft. These silicone wound dressings can be removed without trauma to the wound or surrounding skin.
Does silicone promote wound healing?
Silicone is static so it does not interact chemically with the wound or effect the cells aiding in the healing process. The wound healing process is not disturbed when taking off the dressing since soft silicone dressings can be taken off easily and does not traumatize the wound or the surrounding skin.
Is it possible that soft silicone can enter the system and produce an undesirable effect?
Silicone is insoluble in wound exudate and the size of its molecules does not allow it to penetrate through cell membranes or pass through the skin into blood vessels. Therefore, soft silicone cannot enter the circulatory system. So, they cannot have any adverse effect on the system.
How can I use a compression pump for treating ulcers and open wounds?
If your wound or ulcer is not infected, then you can use the compression pump on a venous ulcer or an open wound. Using the pump will help drain the wound significantly. Once you have treated it with the pump, clean and change the dressing promptly.
How do I choose an appropriate wound dressing?
If the wound is superficial, meaning only the outer layer of skin is affected, a dry gauze bandage such as a 3M Nexcare Waterproof Bandage is a good choice. If the wound is deeper, a dressing that keeps the wound moist, such as McKessons Hydrocolloid Thin Dressing is a better choice. If the wound is not healing, seek evaluation from your doctor.
What is the best way to clean a wound?
Superficial wounds should be cleaned with soap and warm water (showering daily) or a no rinse cleanser like Hollister Restore Wound Cleanser. Just pat the area dry before applying the bandage. Larger or deeper wounds can be cleaned with a wound cleanser such as Medline Skintegrity Wound Cleanser. Showering is acceptable as well, allowing soap and water to run down the wound. Pat the area dry prior to applying the dressing.
How long does it take for a wound to heal?
Wound healing varies depending on many factors. A superficial wound can heal within 1-2 weeks for a healthy person. With deeper wounds, heal time is increased because the wound needs new tissue to grow from the bottom up to the skin level. Proper nutrition is vital for healing. Consider increasing protein in your diet along with a multivitamin. If your appetite is not great, nutritional supplement may help. Consider Abbott Juven Therapuetic Nutrition Powder for the adequate nutrients needed for wound healing.
Why does my wound secrete fluid?
The body sends a plasma fluid to the area of injury to start the healing process. This fluid brings nutrients for healing and takes away waste. Some of the fluid will take the path of least resistance and drain out of the opening in the skin. Drainage that is yellow, pink, orange or brown are acceptable colors. It ususally does not have an odor. If you note an odor, be sure you are cleaning the wound regularly. If the color changes to green or is very bloody, call your doctor for evaluation. Also monitor for redness and warmth that spreads outward from the wound at the skin margins. Again, contact your doctor.
How do I get rid of scars?
Superficial wounds often close with minimal scaring. Deeper wounds will leave a scar. Scar minimizing products are available for use once the skin closes. You can try Amoena Silicone Scar Patches.
What is the difference between an acute wound and a chronic wound?
An acute wound is usually a surgically created wound or caused by trauma to the skin tissue. Wound healing follows a pattern for repairing the tissue. The end result is strong, healed and durable skin. In a chronic wound, the normal healing process is interrupted, causing a delay. Chronic wounds often occur due to decreased vascular flow, persistent inflammation or repeated trauma to the wound. A wound is considered chronic if healing does not occur in 3 months.
What does it mean to heal by primary intention?
Surgically created wounds are generally sutured at the lower portion of the skin (dermis) and subcutaneous tissue layers. The epidermis (outer layer of the skin) may be closed with sutures, staples or liquid band-aid. With this process, wound healing begins at the surface of the skin and continues downward to the subcutaneous layer. These wounds heal quickly with minimal scar formation.
How does a wound heal by secondary intention?
Some wounds cannot be closed at the skin level. One reason is infection in the wound. These wounds are left open to heal from the bottom (subcutaneous tissue) up to the skin level. They take significantly longer to heal because they require rebuilding of tissue to fill the defect. When dressing open wounds, the defect should be filled with a gauze dressing. Scarring is much more noticeable on wounds that heal by secondary intention.
What is tertiary wound healing?
Wounds may need to have a delay in closure due to infection or debris in the wound bed. Initially, the wound is left open for infection to drain. Once debris is the wound is cleared, the wound can then be closed by primary intention. Tertiary Wound intention scarring is less than wounds closed by secondary intention but not as fine as those closed by primary intention initially.
Should I leave my wound open to air to dry out?
This is not recommended. Wounds need a moist environment to heal properly, but not too much moisture. Covering the wound with the appropriate dressing helps manage the moist environment by wicking away excess moisture and protecting the wound from exposure to environmental microbes.
Can I use hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to clean the wound?
This is not recommended. H2O2 can damage healthy skin. It is best to use a wound cleanser such as Coloplast’s Sea-Clens Wound Cleanser. Its base is normal saline (salt-water) and is available in spray form to loosen debris from the wound bed.
How do I know if my wound is infected?
  • Monitor the wound daily, including the surrounding skin.
  • Signs of infection include:
    - Increased drainage
    - Redness of the skin surrounding the wound
    - Warmth of the skin surrounding the wound
    - Increased pain at the wound site
    - Elevated body temperature (fever)
    - If diabetic, increased blood sugars
    - If any of these signs occur, call you doctor for evaluation.
Will the sun help heal my wound?
No. Exposure to the sun’s rays will dry the wound out. It will also tattoo the area causing a scar that will look darker that the skin. Normal scarring usually turns light but with sun exposure during the first year, it will remain more noticeable.
What are the most common wounds?
Pressure injuries (pressure ulcers)
Venous ulcers
Arterial ulcers
Diabetic Ulcers
What causes a chronic wound?
Risk factors include diabetes, age, vascular insufficiency (poor blood flow), and immobility. Traumatic injuries can develop into chronic wounds as well as non-healing or delayed surgical wounds.
What defines a chronic wound?
If a wound does not improve significantly in 4 weeks or has not completely healed in 8 weeks, it is considered a chronic, non-healing wound.
When should I see a doctor about a wound?

If you are concerned about a wound that may not be healing, seek out a wound care specialist as early as possible to maximize the chance of complete healing. Some things to look out for include:

• Wounds that have not made progress in one week (commonly experienced by people with diabetes)

• Sores accompanied by increasing pain, redness, swelling, foul odor, or change in color

• Surgical wounds that have become infected