While some chronic wounds need the care of one or more health care professionals there are some things you can do to help care for your wound and prevent further wounds.

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. Leaving a wound uncovered changes the wound bed environment by making it drier and decrease the temperature. Both these actions will interfere with healing. If the person is elderly or skin is fragile then use a bandage to hold the dressing in place rather than applying tape directly to the skin as removal of the tape may damage the skin

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.

While these are general tips to help you understand what will help your wound, you should seek advice from your health professional on what will help your wound heal.

When your wound dressing is being changed, it is important to keep the wound clean and to minimise the risk of introducing germs / bacteria. Some simple tips to follow:

  • Have a clean environment, eg have a clear space with a wipeable surface ie one that can be cleaned. If using fabric surfaces then cover first with eg a clean towel
  • Remove any pets from the general area
  • Keep your wound care products in a clean sealed container, preferably in their original sealed packaging, or if they have been opened in a zip lock / sealed bag
  • Keep any equipment used to change your dressing (eg scissors, gloves, tape) in a clean sealed container. Don’t use any of the equipment for other purposes
  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after the dressing is changed
  • Wear disposable gloves and change them if they become dirty
  • Change the dressing if it gets wet or becomes loose or dirty
  • Keep the wound bandaged until it is completely healed
  • Avoid tape or adhesive bandages on fragile skin. Use gauze wrap or elastic bandage to keep bandages in place
  • Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on the use of supplies and dressings

The information in the sheet is general information only and is not to replace seeing your doctor or health care professional if you are concerned about your wound or have any of the signs or symptoms of a non-healing wound.