Summertime is the perfect time to create a first aid kit ready to handle the cuts and scrapes that come from being more active.
• Choose a sunburn relief product in gel form rather than an aerosol spray, which can dry out the skin. Any sunburn that causes blisters should be seen by a doctor.
• Regular adhesive bandages and new liquid bandages are perfect to cover friction blisters caused by summer sandals. Breaking blisters increases the chance for infection. Diabetics, who are at risk for foot ulcers, should pay close attention to any foot wound.
• While antibiotic ointments help reduce the chance of infection and keep wounds clean and moist, the newer and stronger ointments and antibiotic bandages may cause allergic reactions. Read the ingredients and warnings on the package before buying.
• Silver is a natural antibacterial that is used in hospital dressings for advanced wound care. These bandages and pre-applied antibiotic bandages replace the need for a separate antibiotic ointment.
• One of the latest advances is hydrocolloid bandages, which contain particles that absorb the liquid in a wound and create a gel-like covering that keeps the wound moist and protected. Providing an optimum healing environment, the bandages can remain on the wound for several days before being changed.
• Don’t try to avoid a scar by using scar-therapy bandages on an open wound. They should only be placed on wounds that have completely healed.
• Butterfly tape or steri-stips are fine for very small cuts in which the edges stay together.
• Spray bandages form a clear film over the cut and are good for hard to cover body parts such as knees and elbows. They are not waterproof and shouldn’t be used with an antibiotic that could loosen the adhesive.
• Keep children calm if they require a bandage by explaining what you are doing and warning them if you apply an ointment or cleaning agent that could sting.
• See a doctor if bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure or if the edges of the wound gape open. Other signs of a non-healing wound are increased pain at the wound site, redness or swelling spreading away from the wound, a foul wound odor and a change in color or amount of drainage from the wound. Also see a doctor if you begin to run a fever or chills, or experience nausea or vomiting.
For information on treating chronic wounds and infections contact ETMC Tyler Wound Healing Center at (903) 526-4325.