Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist tetanus Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Injured Skin Home Care

Initial home care for a skin wound includes:

  • Apply direct pressure to control bleeding:
    • Use a gauze or clean cloth directly on the wound.
    • Maintain constant pressure for at least 10 minutes.
    • Do not interrupt the pressure, in order to look at the wound.
  • Clean the wound:
    • Use mild soap and water.
    • Do not scrub the wound.
    • Remove dirt or foreign material from the wound.
    • Running water can help remove dirt.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment.
  • Cover the wound:
    • Use gauze or an elastic bandage.
    • Wounds to the face may be left uncovered.
  • Keep the wound clean and dry.
  • Rest the injured area.
  • Elevate the injured area.

Ongoing home care for a skin wound includes:
  • Clean the skin gently:
    • 2-3 times a day
    • Use mild soap and water.
    • Do not scrub the skin.
  • Wounds to the foot need special care:
    • Clean foot wounds three to four times a day
    • Wear an open shoe.
  • Gently clean scabs on the face with a soft cloth and hydrogen peroxide:
    • Try not to cause bleeding.
  • Dry the wound gently, and completely, with a clean towel or gauze.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment.
  • Cover the wound:
    • Use gauze or an elastic bandage.
    • Wounds to the face may be left uncovered.
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

Tetanus Considerations
A tetanus shot is necessary right away if you have not had three tetanus shots in the past.

If you have received three tetanus shots in the past, you need a tetanus shot within three days for a dirty wound.

Tetanus Vaccine and TIG Recommendations
HistoryClean, Minor WoundOther Wounds
< 3 boostersgive Tdgive Td + TIG
3 boosterspossible Tdpossible Td

Clean and minor wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 10 years since the last tetanus vaccine. Other wounds may need a booster if it has been more than 5 years since last tetanus vaccine.

Injured Skin Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with a skin wound include:


Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Ketoprofen

NSAID Precautions

Injured Skin Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain and fever in children with a skin wound include:


Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Injured Skin Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have a skin wound and any of the following:

Continue to Injured Skin Complications

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Injured Skin References
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  2. Hogg K, Carley S. Towards evidence based emergency medicine: best BETs from the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Staples or sutures for repair of scalp laceration in adults. Emerg Med J. 2002 Jul;19(4):327-8. [12101148]
  3. Mattick A, Clegg G, Beattie T, Ahmad T. A randomised, controlled trial comparing a tissue adhesive (2-octylcyanoacrylate) with adhesive strips (Steristrips) for paediatric laceration repair. Emerg Med J. 2002 Sep;19(5):405-7. [12204985]
  4. Norman D. The effects of age-related skin changes on wound healing rates. J Wound Care. 2004 May;13(5):199-201. [15160575]
  5. O'Dell ML. Skin and wound infections: an overview. Am Fam Physician. 1998 May 15;57(10):2424-32. [9614412]
  6. Singer AJ, Giordano P, Fitch JL, Gulla J, Ryker D, Chale S. Evaluation of a new high-viscosity octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive for laceration repair: a randomized, clinical trial. Acad Emerg Med. 2003 Oct;10(10):1134-7. [14525751]
  7. Singer AJ, Quinn JV, Thode HC Jr, Hollander JE; TraumaSeal Study Group. Determinants of poor outcome after laceration and surgical incision repair. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002 Aug;110(2):429-35. [12142655]
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