Wound Care Management

Managing Your Wound


About the Skin You’re In

iStock-1023589096Did you know that the skin in the largest organ of the body? Taking care of this vital organ is important for your overall health, because the skin serves as more than a cover for our muscles and bones. Skin protects internal organs from bacteria, sunlight, and moisture. It also regulates body temperature, stores essential nutrients, and gives us the sense of touch. Changes in the skin, such as color or texture, can be a sign of other medical conditions and should be monitored by a health care professional.


How to care for a wound

  • After injury, wash the wound thoroughly with clean water and mild soap. Apply a gentle pressure to stop any bleeding. Do not use alcohol, Betadine or hydrogen peroxide unless ordered to bey your physician.
  • Keep your wound moist with a layer of petroleum jelly and cover with a bandage.
  • Keep your wound and the surrounding skin clean and free of irritants.
  • Monitor surgical sites for signs of infection. Follow your care team’s instructions regarding dressing changes and when to get stitches removed.
  • Inform the wound care clinician if a wound does not heal within four weeks of increases in size.


Managing skin care at home

  • Keep skin clean and dry. Be sure to immediately treat any episodes of incontinence. Practice good hygiene, including washing hands with a mild soap.
  • Moisture daily. Standard lotions help prevent drying. Be careful not to place any lotion between the toes.
  • Properly care for minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. Note any changes in appearance of a wound and the surrounding skin. Let your physician know of any changes.
  • Take short, lukewarm showers of baths.  Hot water can cause skin to dry our and crack.
  • Protect vulnerable areas with proper offloading. This may include using total casts, removable casts, walkers, wheelchairs, specialty pads, and repositioning.
  • Maintain a well-rounded diet. Keeping healthy foods as a part of your daily diet.
  • Hydrate with water. Fluids help prevent dry mouth and skin and are essential for a healthy body.
  • Avoid tobacco products. Begin a smoking cessation program if necessary. Smoking damages collagen and elastin, which gives skin strength and elasticity.
  • Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing outside. This may seem like a no brainer- but it bears repeating.
  • Regularly perform a full-body skin check. Inform your clinician of any areas with discoloration, odd texture, swelling, or discharge.


Taking proper care of your wound will help it heal. Your healthcare provider may show you how to clean and dress the wound. He or she will also explain how to tell if the wound is healing normally. If you are unsure of how to take care of the wound, be sure to clarify what dressing to use and how often you should change the bandages. A wound that's not healing normally may be dark in color or have white streaks.


What does a wound infection look like?

Call 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
  • The area between any stitches opens up
  • 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

Inflammation, mild redness and warmth, is a normal response your body has to trauma and can sometimes be confused with infection. Your health care provider understand can help you identify if you wound has become infected and determine the correct treatment to fight the infection.