Debunking Myths of Wound Care
Applying hydrogen peroxide to a wound could slow down the healing process.
There are a variety of old wives’ tales when it comes to wound care. Whether it is a medical blog advocating leaving your injury uncovered at night or an old generational family remedy that insists peanut butter can prevent wound infection, erroneous healing claims can be found everywhere. To avoid getting caught up in all this hoopla, here are a few popular wound care myths to be aware of, and what the recommended sources of treatment actually are:
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the more controversial sources of wound antiseptics, mainly because its effectiveness in usage continues to be debated today. It’s also still one of the most commonly used solutions for wound irrigation and trying to rid fresh injuries of infection. However, more studies continue to accumulate indicating that hydrogen peroxide is not only ineffective when it comes to aiding overall wound healing stages, but can also slow down the entire process. The bubbling on the wound surface common when hydrogen peroxide is applied is believed by many to be caused by the solution attacking bacteria within the lesion, when in fact it’s also damaging your own cells in the process. Simply using a safer solution, such as saline, can provide moisture and help cleanse an injury without risk of cell damage.
Another commonly used source for cleaning wounds is rubbing alcohol. While it is true that alcohol can work to minimize germ activity within the wound surface, it will also burn your skin immediately. Skin cells can be damaged when put in contact with rubbing alcohol and swelling or itching that results might be misread as inflammatory symptoms. Your first choice for cleaning a wound should be through rubbing water over the injury to initially minimize infection. If excess debris is visible, contact your clinician.
It’s easy to see how people may misinterpret the formation of a scab as a healthy sign of wound healing. Once the injury is crusted over eliminating access to open air, thinking that the job is done is conceivable. However, this progression of hardened fluid and debris formulating over your cut or scrape actually interferes with the entire healing process, ridding the injured area of essential moisture and leaving it more susceptible to infection. Keeping the wound moist by using appropriate types and levels of ointment or cream will help maintain a balanced level of hydration for the injury and work to avoid scabbing over, which usually results in scarring. If a scab does form, do not pick at it, because you are likely to then develop a wound infection.
Experiencing sensations of itching can mean a lot of things, such as an allergic reaction to a wound dressing or antibiotic ointment, rather than being a natural part of the wound healing process. If itching continues to worsen in severity or fails to go away after a few weeks, it’s definitely time to see a clinician to determine whether an infection has developed. Even if the itching is caused by inflammation, better safe than sorry when it comes to avoiding long-term health ailments.