Wound care

Skin wounds need to be cleaned and dressed.  Contrary to many myths, wounds that are kept moist heal better and faster than those exposed to the air. Protecting the wound with a dressing provides a moist environment that encourages the surface skin cells to migrate across the gap and join up. Put simply a ‘dry wound’ is a ‘dead wound’ and you don’t want a dead wound!

Letting a wound ‘breathe’ is a common cause of wounds failing to heal. This issue has been investigated scientifically, and it is conclusively demonstrated that a covered wound heals faster than an uncovered wound! This is because the dry scab actually slows the growth of new skin cells.

Because farmers often keep knocking their wounds on their hands and limbs they can take a long time to heal. Using a dressing will help the wound heal.  Other causes of wounds failing to heal are ongoing trauma, infection, deep burns, skin cancers or underlying medical conditions such as diabetes.

If you have a blister don’t pop the blister. Wounds covered by blisters heal better and more quickly when the blister remains intact, rather than broken. This is because the skin cover provides protection and a warm moist environment to allow for healing.

For more information on wound care visit Better Health Channel

Fast facts:

  • Stop wounds bleeding by covering with a clean bandage and apply direct pressure.
  • Clean wounds by washing with water. Don’t scrub. Use antiseptic and cover minor cuts with sterile bandage for 48 hours.
  • Make sure any foreign material is removed.
  • If you can’t clean the wound properly or, if it is deep or not healing, you will need medical help.

References used for this topic page

More information:

Better Health Channel
Skin cuts and abrasions

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Wound care: What you need to know for your cuts, scrapes, grazes and burns
Wound healing and air

North East Valley Division of General Practice
Wound assessment and dressing selection

Research & reviews:

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Wound identification and dressing selection chart