These refer to wounds that break the skin, exposing body tissue and causing blood to leak out. They’re in contrast to closed wounds, such as bruises.
Most of the time, open wounds are small enough that they can be treated with first aid kit supplies. However, some can get quite extensive. Some wounds can either break delicate tissue or expose it to contaminants, leading to infections that can threaten your life without in-depth treatment. And, of course, blood loss is a major issue for particularly bad wounds. As a rule, a person who gets wounded should visit the hospital if the bleeding persists for more than 20 minutes.
But back to the first point, most of these are easy to treat, so long as you know the type of open wound and how to deal with them. This handy guide will show you what you need to know.
What Are The Different Types Of Open Wounds?
Open wounds differ in what causes them and how to treat them. Here are the most common ones people get:
These happen when the skin rubs against a hard, rough surface. It’s common for people to get them when they skid, scrape, or fall while being on a quickly moving object. You often find these on the knees, elbows, ankles, and upper limbs because these parts are usually used to protect yourself against falls.
Abrasions are not always serious. But they can be painful and highly uncomfortable.
Before treating them, as you would with any type of wound, always wash and disinfect your hands.
Gently wash the area with lukewarm water and mild soap. If you find any detritus, remove them using sterile tweezers or a clean towel.
If the abrasion is not bleeding, you may leave it uncovered to boost the healing process. Otherwise, use a clean bandage to apply pressure. Before covering the wound, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment. Ensure you regularly clean the area and change bandages to prevent infection.
These are wounds caused by sharp objects running across the skin. A shallow cut may be treated at home. But if the cut is deep and the bleeding won’t stop, you need to go to the hospital.
For lacerations, the primary step is to stop the bleeding. You can do this by applying pressure to the injured area with a clean towel or gauze.
Once the bleeding has stopped, you may clean the wound with lukewarm water and mild soap. If the cut is large, it may have to be stitched. A medical professional should do this in a sterile setting to prevent infection.
Any injuries caused by a pointed object digging into the skin are considered puncture wounds. Treating them depends on how deep the wound goes and whether or not the thing that caused the injury is still inside.
If the puncture is shallow, you may treat it the way you would an abrasion and laceration. But take note that the risk of getting infected is very high. This is doubly so if the cause of the injury remains embedded.
If this is the case, you might want to avoid pulling it out. Instead, support the injured area and go to a hospital to get it safely removed. An anti-tetanus shot may be necessary, and an anti-rabies schedule may be set up if an animal caused the puncture wound.
Avulsions are injuries wherein pieces of tissue are severely damaged and may be detached from the body. Typically, all three layers of the skin are torn, resulting in extensive damage. This may be the result of industrial equipment malfunctions, animal attacks, or motor vehicle accidents.
This injury obviously needs immediate medical care. But the first thing you should do is to help control the bleeding to prevent blood loss. Call emergency medical services as you do so.
What Is A Fully- Stocked First Aid Kit?
A first aid kit contains all the necessary materials to treat an injury immediately. All homes, schools, offices, and business establishments must have one to address open wounds on sight. The more stocked it is, the better. It should at least have the following items:
- Triangular bandages
- Disposable non-latex gloves
- 1.3-inch gauze roller bandages
- Micropore tape
- Dressing pads of varying sizes
- Gauze dressings
- Saline solution
- Antibiotic ointment packets
- Cold and hot compresses
- Hydrocortisone ointments
- Digital thermometers
Everyone in the home, office, school, or any kind of establishment should know the location of the first aid kit and how to use the items when needed. Remember to err on the side of caution; if the bleeding shows no signs of stopping or the wound seems hard to manage, call on professional help or go to a hospital.
Know What To Do
An open wound is something a person without a medical background can treat as long as they’re sure they’re treatable. Basic knowledge and care for wounds are necessary to prevent dangers like infection or blood loss.