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Friday, May 16, 2008

Wound: Cover or Not?

THERE IS A COMMON misperception that keeping minor cuts and scrapes uncovered to let them air out helps them heal faster, but extensive research has proven this to be untrue. In fact, if a wound is not covered, it may grow larger and deeper before it heals.

Keeping wounds covered protects them from infection and can make the wound less painful. Additionally, cuts and scrapes can heal faster in a moist environment than in a dry one. When left uncovered and exposed to air, wounds dry out and form a scab, which can lead to scarring. Scabs actually slow the healing process by creating a barrier between healthy skin cells. Bandages that absorb fluids and maintain natural moisture let skin cells travel seamlessly and form new, smooth tissue.

When a wound is covered, the body sends a signal to the skin that it can heal at a regular, more organized pace, so the skin is less likely to scar. In essence, keeping a wound covered with a bandage can enhance nature’s healing process.

Meanwhile, keeping wounds covered helps prevent exposure to water, dirt and germs while providing extra cushioning for added comfort and protection from reinjury.

No matter the type of cut, scrape or laceration, experts suggest this
easy-to-follow, three-step process to promote better healing:
  • Clean. Thoroughly flush and clean the affected area with mild soap and water or an antiseptic wash and allow to dry.
  • Treat. Apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment to the affected area to help prevent infection.
  • Protect. Put on the bandage and keep the wound covered until it is completely healed.
The first three to five days of healing are key, so keep it covered!

You can learn more online at

Fully quoted from Household Almanac: Tips and advice from Costco. 2007 Edition


Anonymous said...

That is amazingly clear and helpful, thank you.