As medicine, medical care practices, and treatment have evolved over the years different methods of wound care has come and gone, leaving a laundry list of wound care myths in its wake.
Some of these perceptions about wound care have stayed true throughout the years, while others have proven to be not only false but, in some cases, downright counterproductive to the healing process.
But, how can you tell the difference between a wound care myth and a viable method of treatment? It can be hard to tell! We picked four of the most common wound care myths in an effort to set the record straight.
Sleep helps wounds heal – TRUE
Getting plentiful rest and a good night’s sleep isn’t just healthy for your mental state, but for your body’s ability to heal wounds as well. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation limits the body’s ability to produce fibroblasts and capillary vessels, essential components in the growth of new skin, the healing of wounds and the strength of our immune systems.
Healthy sleeping habits promote activity from fibroblasts and capillary vessels in your body, not getting enough sleep does just the opposite. So, while treating a wound of any case, be sure to give your body plenty of rest.
Exposed wounds heal faster – FALSE
The perception that letting wounds breathe and receive fresh air isn’t entirely false, but the idea that not providing covering of any sort will help it heal faster is. Keeping a wound exposed can dry out the wound and surrounding skin which can kill skin cells and actually slow the growth of new skin. Keeping a wound constantly exposed also opens it up to more sources of infection.
The healthiest habits for promoting fast healing are to keep the wound wrapped with clean covering and keeping the wound clean, disinfected and somewhat moist throughout recovery – all of which can be achieved with regular use of Dakin’s Solution.
How you care for the wound effects scarring – TRUE
Following surgery or a major injury, a scar is likely to form. But the actions you take during the wound care process can impact the significance of the scar that is left behind. Following doctor’s orders, keeping the wound clean, disinfected and properly treated can minimize the size of your scar.
Allowing the wound to re-tear, get infected or allowing the wound to dry out and grow a large scab can lead to a larger or more severe scar to form.
Scabs are a sign of good healing – FALSE
While a scab is a sign of progress in the healing process, take it with a grain of salt. The formation of a scab is indeed a sign that the wound is healing, but it is also an indication that the skin and wound are dry, which can pose a few issues. This dry covering of the wound and can inhibit the growth of new skin underneath, causing scaring, and can also trap inflammatory tissue and bacteria, which can lead to infection.
So, does that mean you should pick your scabs and keep them from persisting? No, no, no. Picking scabs can reopen wounds, reintroducing them to infection, worsen scaring and prolong healing. Leave your scabs alone but keep an eye on it and contact your doctor if any issues arise.