Caring for Minor Wounds and Selecting the Right Type of Dressing

Choosing the correct type of wound dressing is vital to the healing process of your wounds. It’s best to analyse the type of wound and severity of it to help you narrow down your options.

Depending on the individual’s health conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis), wounds may heal at a different rate and may require different treatments. In general, minor wounds usually heal within several weeks, but complicated wounds heal much slower.

Do keep in mind when selecting the right wound dressing for you that it will not heal wounds themselves, but facilitate’s the body’s natural healing mechanisms by providing an optimal healing environment. Additionally, no single dressing is suitable for all stages of healing, so effective management depends on good product knowledge and regular assessment.

Minor Wounds

Minor wounds such as scratches, cuts and scrapes usually require minimal care as they will generally heal relatively quickly. It’s best to clean minor wounds through running water and antiseptic soap. You can use tweezers or a soft gauze to remove dirt and debris from the wound to reduce the chances of an infection.

It’s best to cover up the wound with an adhesive bandage or a sterile gauze and tape, especially if the wound is in an area that easily gets dirty or irritated like your hands or under clothes. When covering up these wounds, make sure you choose a dressing that allows the wound to breathe as this will speed up the healing process.
Change the adhesive strip or gauze each day to keep the wound clean and dry.

First Degree Burns

When treating burns, it’s best to act quickly as burns can lead to swelling and other irritations. Run the burn through cool (not cold) running water or immerse it in cool water under the pain starts to wear off.

Once the pain starts to subside, apply petroleum based ointments two to three times a day then cover it with a soft and sterile non-adhesive gauze dressing as it helps to keep moisture in the wound that will help in speeding up the healing process.


Your body bleeds to flush out any dirt and debris that may have entered the wound. After sometime, the blood will harden and clot preventing any more contaminants from entering the wound thus, keeping the wound protected.

In certain cases though, the wound may be deeper than it seems and bleeding may take longer to subside. In this case, take a clean cloth, gauze or tissue and apply pressure to the area. If the blood soaks through the gauze or cloth you are holding over the cut. In this case, don’t take it off, just put more gauze or another cloth on top of what you already have in place and apply more pressure.

Eventually, the bleeding should start to minimise and you can apply an adhesive sterile dressing over the wound to keep it protected from dirt and debris and encourage the blood to clot.

If the bleeding continues, it’s best to seek doctor’s advice.

Call your family doctor if any of the following things happen:

  • The wound is jagged.
  • The wound is on your face.
  • The edges of the cut hang open.
  • The cut has dirt in it that won’t come out.
  • The cut becomes tender or inflamed (red).
  • The cut drains a thick, creamy, grayish fluid.
  • You start to run a temperature higher than 100°F.
  • The area around the wound feels numb.
  • You can’t move comfortably.
  • Red streaks form near the wound.
  • It’s a puncture wound or a deep cut, and you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the past five years.
  • The cut bleeds in spurts, blood soaks through the bandage, or the bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of firm, direct pressure.
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