Despite how common they are, many people are still in the dark about the best way to go about treating a wound.
Dr Ginni Mansberg busts some of the biggest medical myths to help you heal faster…
Myth 1. Use alcohol to disinfect
Many people incorrectly believe that a disinfectant has to sting in order to kill bacteria – which simply isn’t the case! Alcohol and some disinfectants not only sting, but actually dry out the wound which prevents healing.
Something like medical grade Manuka honey is a great healing agent for wounds as it not only has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, but when it comes in to contact with ooze from a wound, it manages to generate bactericidal hydrogen peroxide without doing any tissue damage, which is quite extraordinary!
Myth 2. Let the wound dry out
For many years, the thinking behind wound care was to keep them dry in order to heal, but this certainly isn’t the case anymore. We have known for a while now that wounds heal better when they are moist, and when they are covered. Look for moisturising agents with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Myth 3. Covering wounds breed bacteria
Our skin is one of our best physical immune barriers – so when there is an opening in the skin, such as with an open wound, one of the primary objectives is to prevent invasion from bacteria.
Thoroughly cleaning the wound is the first and most obvious step, but the second and commonly overlooked step is to cover the wound to protect it from bacteria as it heals. An open wound is like an open invite for bacteria, so keeping it covered and moist is the best way to help it heal.
Myth 4. A scab means the wound is healing
A scab is a mixture of dried blood, serum, dead skin cells, and dead bacteria. Scabs actually hinder the healing process by creating a barrier for new skin cells looking to heal the wound. A scab can be a sign that the wound is too dry to heal as fast as possible. Keeping the wound moist and covered helps allow skin cells to heal more rapidly than if left open to dry out.
Myth 5. All wounds heal eventually
While our bodies are generally pretty good at healing itself, different wound types require different treatment methods, and some may need a trip to your local doctor or emergency room.
A chronic wound is a serious medical condition, describing a wound that does not follow the healing stages resulting in a lengthened recovery. On average, a chronic wound is classified as one that fails to heal within four weeks and shows no sign of improvement within eight weeks. The most common form of chronic wounds are ulcers of the lower extremities.
Chronic wounds require immediate medical attention, so be on the look-out for changes in colour, worsening pain, discharge or odour and significant swelling or redness. If the wound shows no significant signs of improvement after about four weeks, consult a medical professional.
For more information on medical grade manuka honey and its assistance in wound healing, visit www.comvita.com.au
ABOUT DR GINNI MANSBERG
Dr Ginni is a GP, medical & parenting expert with a special interest in women’s and family health, and six children of her own in a blended family. She is an authority on everything from sleep to beating stress, wellness, life balance and a range of general health and medical related topics; always packaged with a dose of reality, practical and helpful tips and delivered with her customary sense of humour. Aside from her practice in Sans Souci, Ginni is also an accomplished writer, having written 3 books and having worked extensively as a medical journalist and columnist. She is an experienced TV presenter working with Channel 7 as their resident GP for many years and as one of the hosts of Embarrassing Bodies Down Under.