Warmer weather is upon us, which hopefully means spending some more time outside. As your wardrobe also gets lighter and more skin gets a chance to interact with the great outdoors, just a few tips to keep in mind.
Sunburn. Don’t wait for the first sunburn of the season to remember that it’s been a while since your beautiful skin has been kissed by direct sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight on bare skin, wear hats, protective clothing, or slather on the sunscreen. Keep an eye on the kids. They will be playing for hours in the sun, especially on the weekends, and it will be easy to forget until you see their red cheeks and shoulders in the evening.
Minor cuts and scrapes. Things just happen, and your poor skin works hard as the first line of defense against all outside invaders. Any skin opening can be a portal of infection, and simple measures can help keep you out of the clinic.
1) Rinse the wound with tap water or saline for 5-10 min. For most superficial or surface wounds, flushing away the dirt and debris is very important to prevent possible sites where bacteria can hide. Use of tap water shows similar results to sterile saline for infection prevention for minor cuts and scrapes. If there is any bleeding, hold direct pressure with gauze.
2) Wash with mild soap and mostly water. Regular non-moisturizing soap, use with mostly water to make a mildly soapy solution and gently wash the area with a gauze pad. Use of peroxide or rubbing alcohol can delay wound healing by causing damage to your own tissue. If you already have antiseptic agents in your first aid kits or at home, for initial wound cleaning, use of an antiseptic will likely not make a severe impact in overall wound healing, but continued use with alcohol, peroxide, or stronger agents with every dressing change can delay your own cells from growing as they too will be damaged.
3) Allow the skin to dry after washing. You may need some gauze over the wound if it is still bleeding or oozing, but allow the intact skin around the area to dry.
4) Use an ointment over the wound. Many times, Vaseline or petroleum jelly alone is sufficient to allow the skin to say pliable and can act like a water-repellent if the area does get wet.
5) Cover with a non-stick bandage or gauze.
6) Change the dressing 2-3x a day, or when it gets wet. Changing the bandage is also very important to maintain an environment where the skin can regrow without infection.
When changing the bandage, there will be a film or yellow-thick like material over the wound. This material would form the scab if there were no ointment and can act like a lid to trap bacteria against the skin.
Rinse the wound, and just like above, use a mild soap with water to gently wash the area and remove excess goop from the wound. Allow to dry again, keep ointment on the skin to keep it soft, and repeat wound dressing.
When to visit your doctor or Urgent Care.
For deeper wounds, animal bites, or puncture wounds, these types of injuries are more likely to get infected, even with proper wound care.
For any signs of infection: you feel ill, there are red streaks coming from the wound, there is yellow drainage or increasing pain.
Feel free to visit the new Eastside Urgent Care clinics for further evaluation or concerns for your minor injuries or illnesses!
Dr. Josh Behlmann
Eastside Urgent Care- Sugarloaf
3330 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite A
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am-8 pm
Sat-Sun 9 am-6 pm