Skin abrasions

Proper way to clean a wound

A wound is simply a break in the skin. In most cases, all you need is a plaster or large dressing to control the bleeding. Nevertheless, you have to apply pressure to the area and if a leg or arm is involved, it should be elevated above the level of the heart.

Prior to the application of a plaster or other type of dressing, you have to cleanse the wound first. There are steps that must be taken to guarantee that a wound will not be at risk for infection.

  • Cleanse and dry your hand thoroughly.
  • If there are any cuts on the hands, cover them and wear disposable gloves.
  • Always inform the individual what you are doing.
  • Make sure that the individual is seated or lying down.
  • In case the wound has any dirt or debris embedded in it, leave it in place until medical care can be sought.
  • Cleanse the wound under running water, saline or utilize an alcohol-free wipe, gauze pad or soft cloth.
  • Soak the cloth or gauze in water or saline solution and gently dab or wipe on the skin.
  • Slowly pat the area dry using a clean towel or pad of tissues.
    Cleaning a wound
    Apply sterile dressing such as plaster or bandage.
  • Apply sterile dressing such as plaster or bandage.
  • If blood soaks through the initial bandage, leave it in place and simply add another bandage and continue to place pressure on the wound.

When to seek medical care

There are instances in which an individual requires medical care such as the following:

  • Bleeding could not be controlled
  • Wound is very large or deep
  • There are debris or dirt embedded in the wound
  • Wound involves an artery or joint crease
  • The wound is sore, reddened and painful or there is drainage of pus
  • An old wound at risk for infection
  • Wound was caused by a bite whether from an animal or human

In case you are in doubt on how serious the injury is, it is recommended to have it checked by a healthcare professional. If there is a large wound or deep cut, it should be carefully assessed how serious it is. The wound should be thoroughly cleaned before stitches are placed.

Do I need a tetanus shot?

It is important to be updated with the tetanus shots if the skin is broken or bitten whether by an animal or human. A booster shot is usually given if the doctor thinks that the individual needs one.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on how to clean a wound is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to provide proper wound care, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are located in Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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