From applying wine and beer to a scratch to using ants to bite and seal a cut - humans have tried almost anything to accelerate the healing of wounds over the centuries.
We’ve come a long way since then, but we still don’t always get it right when it comes to caring for our wounds.
Most people still have a scar somewhere from a childhood fall or a soccer match gone wild, but the right treatment could have accelerated healing by up to 50% and reduced the risk of scarring, says Dr. Rainer Wolber from Beiersdorf AG’s Research & Development Centre.
Here are 5 things not to do when taking care of a wound.
1. Don’t leave your wound to air-dry
If you think it’s a good idea to let your skin breathe after cleaning out a cut or scrape, think again. Dr. Sonoa Au of Advanced Dermatology P.C. in New York explains that exposing your skin this way has infection written all over it. By protecting your wounds with a plaster, the principles of moist wound healing will support the natural healing process, according to Elastoplast UK.
2. Don’t use strong antiseptics to wash wounds
Conventional wisdom suggests using disinfectants and antiseptics like hydrogen peroxide, alcohol or iodine to clean open wounds. However, most of these substances are better suited for disinfecting household surfaces and are far too harsh for use on human tissue - unless in an emergency. A clean and cleansed wound is the first step to an optimal healing. Cleanse your wound from dirt, bacteria and visible particles with a mild disinfectant like Elastoplast Wound Spray to prevent infections.
3. Don’t be tempted to pop a blister
While popping a blister is tempting, leaving it intact and allowing it to heal on its own is the safest option, according to podiatrist Rebecca Rushton. Opening your blister creates a doorway for bacteria to enter your wound. As long as it’s covered, the blister roof acts as a bodyguard to protect your wound against additional infection. Dr Maike Kuhlmann from Beiersdorf AG’s Research & Development Centre advices that if a blister is in an area where it might get rubbed, like your hand or heel, you should protect the blister from further friction with a plaster.
4. Don’t use butter to heal a burn wound
A common wound care myth is that butter is beneficial for burns. We turned to Netcare 911 to bust this myth and they say putting butter or another greasy substance on a burn wound could increase the chance of infection. They advise patients to run cold water over the affected area in the case of minor to moderate burns. This may help to limit the damage to deeper skin tissues, and is also effective for chemical burns, as the water can help to dilute the harmful substance. You can also use apply a special plaster like the new Elastoplast Wound healing ointment if you need a dressing.
5. Don’t leave a wound when it gets warm, red, itches or swells
Itching may indicate that the healing process is well on its way but do watch out! According to Elastoplast Australia, you should consult a doctor when your wound gets very red, oozes, itches or starts throbbing. These could be signs of an infection that should be treated medically as soon as possible. Also seek medical help if you are not able to clean your wound properly on your own.
This post is sponsored by Elastoplast produced by Brandstudio24 for Health24.