August 23rd-29th is National Wound Awareness Week - A week focused on highlighting the importance of improving awareness of chronic wounds and influence wound management policy.
Every year over 420,000 Australians suffer from a chronic wound.
A staggering statistic! The RCH defines the difference between a normal wound and a chronic wound:
"An acute wound is expected to progress through the phases of normal healing, resulting in the closure of the wound. Chronic wound- is a wound that fails to progress healing or respond to treatment over the normal expected healing time frame (4 weeks) and becomes "stuck" in the inflammatory phase."
This means that a chronic wound will fail to heal, and continue to display symptoms like:
- Pain and Heat: Wounds that are red, swollen, hot to touch and very painful
- Odour: Wounds with a strange or unpleasant smell
- Excess Fluid: Wounds that have a thick, yellowish fluid
- Slow Healing: Wounds taking longer than a month to heal or keep returning
- Pressure of Chronic Disease and/or Ageing: People over 65 years and/or with chronic diseases such as diabetes, vascular disease are more at risk
The longer a wound remains open, the greater the opportunity for germs to enter the body, which can lead to severe systematic infection (an infection through the whole body) which can ultimately end in amputation of the effected limbs.
However, with the right treatment, wounds don't have to stay chronic! It all starts with the care given when a wound first occurs.
When a wound first occurs
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds under clean water, making sure to wash between fingers, back of the hand and under nails and dry gently with a clean cloth
- Stop any bleeding by pressing a clean paper towel against the wound for several minutes
- After you have stopped the bleeding, rinse the wound with large amounts of clean (suitable for drinking) It can be boiled and left to cool first
- Do not use peroxide, iodine solutions, alcohol, or soap to clean or treat the wound
- Gently remove any dirt with a clean, moist cloth
- Press a clean cloth against the wound for 10 minutes if it starts bleeding again. Some medications can increase bleeding of wounds. If bleeding does not cease in a reasonable time then contact your health care provider or attend accident and emergency at your local hospital
Dressing the wound
Covering the wound with an appropriate dressing will create and maintain an environment suitable for healing.
An appropriate dressing is one that helps to create an ideal wound healing environment (warm and moist) maintaining a constant temperature at the wound surface and keeping the wound moist but not soggy. Changing the dressings and bandages as necessary will help aid the healing process, ensuring to keep the wound in the right healing environment.
At FastAid, we offer a range of essential consumables for wound care. You can view the full range here!
Where to learn more
Head over to woundaware.com.au to learn more about National Wound Awareness Week.
Need help with wound care options or first aid kit supplies? We're here to help!