This blog is the second installment of a four-part series titled – All About Wound Care. In our last blog (http://niceusgeriatric.com/2021/09/19/all-about-wound-care-a-four-part-series/) we looked at the basic structure of the skin and the functions of the skin. Today we will look at wounds – what are they and how do we identify them.
Knowing how to identify a wound is important as different wounds require different attention and some are more of a priority than others – meaning that even though all wounds need to be treated as soon as possible, some are life-threatening and others are not. Therefore, the urgency in treatment will vary.
The information provided in this blog is for general knowledge and basic understanding of wounds, to assist you in seeking treatment and giving better information about your loved one’s wound to your general practitioner/doctor. It is not medical advice. Always consult with a doctor for the treatment of any wound. Do not attempt to treat a wound on your own.
So first off, we will look at the definition of a wound. A wound is a break in the continuity of the tissues of the body, either internal or external. As we saw in the previous blog, it is important to maintain the integrity of the skin because it is the body’s first line of defense. Our skin protects our insides from harmful agents on the outside. Therefore, a wound can cause many problems if left unattended.
So now we know what a wound is, how do we identify them? Well, let’s first look at the general Classification of Wounds and then the many Types of Wounds.
What is the classification of wounds? Now the term wound describes not only a break on the outside but also one on the inside. Therefore, the classification of wounds lets us know where that wound has occurred. There are two classifications of wounds. They are
Open Wounds – which are defined as a break in the skin or the mucous membrane and
Closed Wounds – which involves injury to underlying tissues without a break in the skin or mucous membrane.
In this blog, we focus on Open Wounds on the skin.
We mentioned prior that knowing how to identify a wound is important so that you can prioritize treatment according to the level of risk the wound causes to the victim. Well, now we look at these types of wounds, how they may be caused and what danger they may cause for the person who has it.
We do not have any pictures for reference because we want to keep this blog clean and friendly to as many readers as possible. You can always do a quick Google search on the names of the different types of wounds if you so desire to get a visual.
Types of Wounds
This is caused when there is damage to the outermost layer of skin. It is usually caused when the skin is scraped against a hard surface. There is limited bleeding and the main danger is infection.
In these wounds, the skin is cut on a sharp object (knife, glass, metal edges, etc.) Bleeding may be rapid and heavy. Such injury may cause damage to muscle, tendons, and nerves; it depends on the depth of the wound.
Skin that has jagged, irregular, or blunt breakage or tearing, caused by forces exerted on the body. The damage is greater in this type of wound. The danger of deep contamination of wounds exists and increases the chance of future infection of this type of wound.
In these types of wounds, piercing of the skin layers by an object creates a small hole in the tissues. Some puncture-producing objects are bullets, pins, nails, etc. External bleeding is limited, but internal damage may be extensive causing internal bleeding. There exists a hazard of infection.
Tissue is forcibly separated or torn from the victim’s body. When a body part is avulsed, you may get an incision or lacerated wound. These types of injuries may occur during vehicular accidents or animal bites
An open sore which fails to heal. It may be caused by problems with the circulatory system or peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves). Due to their lengthy healing nature, these types of wounds are prone to infection.
Each wound may be treated differently as the type of damage done may be different. What you should always remember though, regardless of the type of wound, there may be some level of pain that is involved. This is someone’s skin that is torn or cut and it can be very painful! When treating a wound, some health care professionals may give the affected person any prescribed painkillers prior to treating the wound so the level of discomfort from pain may be greatly decreased. Also, to reduce the incidence of pain, you may do the following:
If the wound is on a limb, keep the limb elevated to improve circulation. As such, you will not get “pooling” and swelling in the limb, which may cause pressure on the wound, and resulting in pain.
Do not apply pressure to the wound. For example, if the wound is on your loved one’s buttocks, turn them on their sides so their body weight is not exerted fully on the wound.
Be gentle when handling that limb/body part or area around the wound; it may be tender.
In our next blog, we will look at the ways in which to assess a wound based on the wound’s characteristics. If this blog was helpful, please share it with someone. See you next week!
Photo by Eduardo Barrios on Unsplash