21 April 2015
Comments: 0
21 April 2015, Comments: 0

All of us have experienced different types of open wounds once in our lives.

An open wound is a type of damage that involves a break in the tissue, which is usually the skin. Classification of open wounds are based on the type of object and what causes the injury which is used as a basis of the first aid measures as well as treatment.Therefore, it is basic that the wound should be recognized correctly as much as possible for proper first aid and treatment.



Wounds occur when the skin is damaged or injured. The skin may be injured depending on the mechanism of injury that is usually attributed to the causing agent:

  • Abrasion
    • This occurs when the skin rubs or causes a friction with a hard surface
    • Appears as linear lesions with tiny spots of bleeding
    • Common terms: scrape, scratch, graze
  • Laceration
    • Skin is separated due to a blunt force causing splitting
    • May have little or no bleeding
    • Edges of the wound are usually irregular
    • Bruising can occur
    • Usual areas that are involve are areas near the bony prominences
    • Usually contaminated
    • Associated with fractures
    • A common term we use for a laceration is a cut. Other times, we call it a tear
  • Incised Wound
    • Usually caused by sharp force
    • May have little or no bleeding
    • Edges of the wound are clean
    • Bruising is not usual
    • Usually found in any parts of the body
    • Usually clean
    • Associated with bone chipping
  • Punctured Wound
    • Small hole, usually narrow, which is caused by a pointed object such as a needle, nail which pierces the skin
    • Some punctured wounds can come from human or animal bites
    • Bleeding from the outside is not visible, but more bleeding inside
  • Avulsion
    • Part or a whole tissue has been pulled away from its attachment
    • Heavy bleeding ensues
    • Tissue may be loose or hanging


Points to consider before applying first aid measures on an open wound:

  • Wash your hands before cleaning a wound
  • Perform the first aid measures and redressing on a clean area
  • Cleanse thoroughly and dry the wound carefully before applying new dressing
  • When disposing the old dressing, put in a plastic bag

History taking is important to establish the events that caused the open wound. Most of these wounds are minor and can be treated at home. First aid measures that can be done at home are the following:

  • Wash the open wound
  • Remove the dirt and debris carefully
    • Can be done by flushing with running water
    • Use a sterilized pair of tweezers or a needle to remove splinters only if the wound is not too deep (Sterilization can be done by rubbing alcohol or in heating it on flame)
  • Put a sterile dressing over the wound.
  • Bandage for bigger wounds whenever necessary
  • Apple direct pressure on the wound and elevate the part to control bleeding and swelling
  • Apple cold compress if bruising or swelling starts
  • You may opt to clean the wound everyday and change dressing for the next five (5) days
  • If one experiences pain, he can take pain relievers
  • Once the wound is dry, let the scabs fall off on its own
  • After doing the first aid measures, you may ask your health care provider to administer a tetanus shot

Some point to consider in seeking medical assistance:

  • If after application of direct pressure up to twenty (20) minutes and elevation and bleeding does not stop
  • If wound is deeper especially when there is muscle penetration
  • Longer wounds that need butterfly bandages to assist in the healing process
  • If wound is due to a traumatic or serious accident and other injuries are seen
  • If the wound cannot easily be cleaned a fix object is stuck to the tissue
  • If the patient is fully immunized, then a booster can be given within forty- eight (48) hours. If no immunization was recorded, tetanus (toxoid and anti tetanus serum) should be given
  • When there is a beginning infection
    • Prolonged inflammation or swelling
    • Redness
    • Pain or tenderness
    • Localized calor or warmth
    • Generalized fever
    • Lymphadenopathy or swelling of the lymph nodes
    • Pus


Some victims even if a small amount of blood is lost, may lose consciousness and go to shock. This requires medical assistance at the soonest possible time.  If the person is not breathing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation should be done and in the absence of pulses, cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be performed. After one has restored breathing on the victim, then the bleeding should now be controlled.

When there is a large amount of blood lost, intravenous fluids are given or at times, whole blood.


Tips on how to promote the healing process of open wounds:

  • Stop bleeding by directly applying pressure using a pad. If one sees much blood on the cloth or pad, apply another pad over the used pad as to not affect the clotting process
  • Cleaning the open wound by putting the affected part under running water or by using a cotton to remove the dirt from the central part outwards
    • Saline solution can be used for gentle cleaning by mixing two (2) teaspoons of salt and one (1) liter of boiling water. Then let it stand for it to get cooler.
  • Some common home remedies:
    • Honey is used as an alternative antibiotic that can be applied to the wound, which can help in faster wound healing. Only raw honey is used. If honey is cooked, the enzymes are killed. Thus, it will not be effective.
      • Spread it over the wound
      • For deeper and larger, honey should be placed on the bed of the wound and a dressing is used to cover it
    • Garlic is also a natural antibiotic
      • Prepare a solution by blending three (3) crushed garlic cloves and one (1) cup of wine. Let it stand for two (2) to three (3) hours then strain.
      • Apply the solution twice daily to affected area using a clean cloth
    • Chamomile
      • Aids in healing faster
      • Steep a chamomile tea bag in water and lightly squeeze out some fluid
      • Apply the bag on the wound and wrap with some gauze
    • Cayenne Pepper
      • Disinfectant and helps stop bleeding
      • Eight (8) ounces with one (10) teaspoon of water can be taken for more severe cases of bleeding
    • Potato
      • Antibiotic
      • Make potato poultice by shredding raw potato with a grater.
      • Then put poultice on a clean cloth
      • Apply the cloth to the area and wrap with a gauze which is left overnight
      • In the morning, it is removed
      • After removal, clean area with salty water.
      • Then cover again

        Learn how to properly place gauze bandages on open wounds by joining First Aid Classes

        Learn how to properly place gauze bandages on open wounds by joining First Aid Classes

Open wounds are preventable.  No matter how we are careful, there is always a possibility of sustaining such wounds. Simple reminder that tools or gadgets should be used accordingly and that safety measures are done. Protective gear could be of help such as wearing a helmet while using a motorbike or bicycle, wearing appropriate shoes and gears for suitable situation can help prevent open wounds.

Open wounds occur when there is damage to the tissues of the skin that require first aid treatment to avoid infections from ensuing.

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