ABOUT WOUND CARE
What is Wound Care?
Wound care is the process of treating a wound through the various stages of the healing process. Wound care supplies including dressings, bandages, cleansers, skin adhesives, sutures, staples, stitches, and wound drainage products are some of the essential items required in a comprehensive treatment plan.
Open Wounds - External damage to the skin, often with internal tissue exposure, that commonly causes bleeding and scarring. Many types of wound care products and supplies are available to treat open wounds.
Closed Wounds - Also known as internal wounds, this type of injury occurs without exposing underlying tissue; like hematomas and contusions. These types of wounds are not typically treated topically.
Acute Wounds - Wounds that heal in a predictable amount of time without complications.
Chronic Wounds - Wounds that are slow to heal often with complications requiring ongoing treatment.
COMMON TYPES OF OPEN WOUNDS
Tearing of the skin in an irregular manner by a sharp object, like knives or glass, or as a result of blunt trauma. Commonly referred to as a cut, these wounds can vary in severity depending on the depth and location of the injury.
Small round wounds caused by sharp objects like nails, animal bites, or tacks that can be quite deep and painful. To avoid infection, immediate treatment is recommended.
Damage to the skin or other human tissue caused by fire or excessive heat, sun exposure, chemicals, electricity, radiation, etc. Severity of burn wounds are classified by 1st through 4th degree based on the depth and size of the injury.
Ulcers are open wounds that occur on the surface of the skin as a result of poor circulation, constant pressure, or injury. Common skin ulcers include bedsores and diabetic foot ulcers. Often long-healing, ulcers can become chronic in nature if left untreated.
Usually a minor injury, abrasions occur when the skin is grazed or rubbed off an area of the body when in contact with a rough surface. Common abrasions include brush burns and scrapes and are easily cared for at home.
HOW DO WOUNDS HEAL?
Although the healing process can be interrupted by setbacks caused by external or internal conditions, wounds progress through 4 basic phases in a dependably linear order. The process begins with the Hemostasis phase, followed by the Inflammation, Proliferative, and Remodeling phases. In the final stage, also known as Maturation, the skin's collagen changes to its final form and the wound closes.
Proper care with quality wound care products can expedite the process by protecting it from further injury and infection. When a wound does not continue to progress through these four stages of healing, it is classified as chronic and will require additional medical intervention. Factors that may result in chronic wounds typically involve patients' pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, metabolic deficiencies, and venous disease. Infection can also lead to a halt in the healing process, and in turn, a chronic wound classification.
ESSENTIAL OPEN WOUND CARE SUPPLIES
Wound dressings are the first layer of protection between a cut, abrasion, burn, ulceration, or surgical incision and medical tapes, bandages, or wraps. Products like gauze, hydrogel, and sterile pads offer an effective solution to prevent infection, control excessive bleeding, and promote healing.
Medical bandages maximize healing time and minimize risk of infection or further injury. They range in style from traditional adhesive bandages used to treat minor injuries like cuts, scrapes or blisters to elastic wraps or sports bandages commonly used to stabilize sprains, strains and joints.
Wound drainage naturally occurs during the healing process and its color, thickness, clarity and odor can often tell clinicians how well a wound is healing; Wound drainage devices and irrigation supplies are sometimes necessary to control the amount of seepage and avoid infection.
Although suture kits and removal tools are necessities in emergency medical care, skin staplers also play an important role in managing a laceration or cut quickly and efficiently. Skin closure strips and adhesives are also commonly used in wound management.
BURN CARE ESSENTIALS
The basic steps to care for minor burns include immediately cooling and cleaning the wound with cool, not cold, water. Leave any formed blisters intact to avoid contamination. Apply a thin layer of ointment like aloe vera, petroleum jelly, or cocoa butter to keep skin from drying out. To maintain a clean healing site and protect it from further injury, wrap with a gauze wound dressing. For more serious burns, many experts recommend using silver-infused wound products and dressings. Finally, soothe pain with over-the-counter pain relievers. Please note, minor burns may take up to 3 weeks to heal, in which time you may experience itching; avoid scratching. For wounds affecting more than the surface layer of skin, seek medical attention immediately.
FIRST AID KIT ESSENTIALS
Whether collecting medical supplies for a portable, professional or home-based first aid kit, the basic products remain the same. The size of the kit and the quantity of each product to have on hand, however, may vary depending on the number of people it must serve in an emergency situation. Of course, all-inclusive first aid kits are available to purchase, but as the contents are used or expire they will need to be replaced to ensure you are always prepared.
The Red Cross recommends that a family of four include the following in a home first aid kit:
- 2 - 5 x 9 in. absorbent compress dressings
- 25 adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- 1 roll of adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 emergency blanket
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pairs of non-latex exam gloves, size large
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 - 3 in. gauze roll bandage
- 1 elastic bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 - 3 in. x 3 in. sterile gauze pads
- 5 - 4 in. x 4 in. sterile gauze pads
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- Emergency First Aid guide
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the difference between a cervical collar and a neck brace?
A cervical collar and a neck brace are essentially the same orthopedic products. People use these terms interchangeably for a medical device that supports the neck and spine of an injured person. It works by limiting post-injury head movement until the area has healed. Your neck is a vulnerable part of your spinal column, making it susceptible to severe injury in car accidents, sports collisions, or everyday activities. Also, people with chronic neck pain use neck braces to help relieve their discomfort. Therefore, neck braces are crucial for caring for short-term or ongoing neck injuries and ailments.
How do you sleep in a neck brace?
Getting productive sleep is essential for helping your injured neck heal. To this end, you can get high-quality rest while wearing a neck brace for sleeping, provided you follow some neck brace-safe sleeping rules. The first rule is to sleep on your back and avoid lying on your stomach. If you have trouble sleeping on your back, you may sleep on your side. The focus is on keeping your neck straight. Next, you should sleep on a firm mattress with a supportive pillow to ensure maximum spinal support. Your pillow should have enough thickness to support your neck. However, your doctor may have special instructions that could override this arrangement.
What is the difference between a soft neck brace and a rigid neck brace?
The difference between a soft neck brace like the Bell-Horn Universal Cervical Collar and a rigid neck brace is the range of movement they allow. Since soft collars allow some limited range of motion, they serve as a transitional brace from rigid cervical collars and rehabilitation aid for minor neck conditions. On the other, if you’re recovering from neck surgery or suffer from a very severe neck condition, a rigid neck brace provides 100% neck restriction for maximum stabilization and support. Soft Collars have a foam rubber, polyethylene, or inflatable cuff that encircles your neck, and rigid collars have a tough plastic shell covering a vinyl or foam core.
Where can I buy a neck brace? Do I need a prescription?
Since neck braces are non-prescription, many in-store and online retailers offer neck braces for sale. However, online medical supply and orthopedic supplies retailer Allegro Medical offers a premium selection like the Headmaster Collar Low-Profile Cervical Collar and the Serpentine style Cervical Collars. In addition, they feature products from top cervical support providers like Regency Products, Deluxe Comfort, Stifneck®, and Bell-Horn. Along with the Best Price Guarantee, Allegro Medical also has customer service experts capable of all your questions.
What conditions do neck braces work for?
Cervical neck braces are nonsurgical treatment aids used as a conservative treatment regimen for several neck disorders. Soft collared neck braces work best for cases of whiplash, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, and neck sprains. Conversely, rigid collared neck braces help recover severe neck trauma, such as neck surgeries, cervical fractures, and severe collision/sudden stop injuries.
Can I remove my neck brace to shower?
Since taking off your cervical neck brace can subject you to further injury or permanent disability, you must keep the brace on at all times, even in the shower. As a result, you should adjust your showering times to allow your collar’s drying time.
Can you drive with a neck brace?
Driving requires your neck to have a full range of motion and the necessary range of sight to see all traffic conditions. Consequently, you should not drive while wearing a neck support brace.
What is a SOMI Brace?
The SOMI Brace attaches to a sternal occipital mandibular immobilization device to produce zero mobility of your head and neck. These two devices set your neck in perfect alignment with your spine. The SOMI Brace’s two main contact points are the occipital (back of the head) area and the mandibular (lower jaw). This SOMI Brace’s primary use is for patients with chronic ailments like rheumatoid arthritis in the neck or individuals recovering from surgery.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.