The Importance of Proper Wound Care for Seniors
“It’s just a minor cut.”
This is usually the first thing that pops into your mind when you get a minor cut. Surely, it cannot be dangerous. Well, think again!
A break in the skin may take various forms, but we generally call them as cuts. It is true that the deeper and larger the cut is, the more care it needs. However, this does not imply that you have to ignore minor cuts. You still have to take care of it. This is especially true for the elders.
Wound Healing Changes with Age
You may already know that your skin becomes thinner and loses moisture as you age. But those are not the only things that happen to your skin as a consequence of advancing age. As you get older, your immune system also slows down. This makes it hard for your body to ward off germs. As a result, your body’s repair mechanism does not work as efficient as when you are younger. Simply put, because your body is unable to eradicate germs completely, this complicates your wound’s healing process and it may lead to further tissue damage.
Moreover, small cuts may be different for elders. It could be deeper than that of a younger person.
Effects of Leaving Wound Untreated
As established earlier, minor cuts also need attention. If you leave them unattended, it can result in complications due to infection. Below are two types of infections that could be life-threatening:
Cellulitis. A small cut can turn into a huge problem if it becomes infected. The germs can multiply quickly and spread under the surface of your skin. This type of wound infection is referred to as cellulitis. It occurs when a cut in your skin allows bacteria to enter and multiply. If neglected, it can spread swiftly to your lymph nodes, bloodstream, and deeper tissues, making it lethal.
Sepsis. If you do not treat your wound, it can cause infection. When there is an infection, your body responds by releasing a chemical into the bloodstream to fight the infection. This can cause inflammatory response all throughout your body. This occurrence is called sepsis. The inflammation caused by sepsis can lead to bodily changes that damage your organs.
Observance of Proper Wound Care
To preempt the worsening of your minor cut, observance of proper wound care is a must. There are only three steps you need to remember: clean, disinfect, and protect.
Clean. Make sure your hands are clean before attending to your wound. Remove any dirt from your wound using water and mild soap.
Disinfect. Once your wound is already clean, apply an antibacterial cream or ointment around its surface area.
Protect. Cover it with a band aid to protect it against dirt.
Even small things matter and this applies to minor cuts. So be sure to observe proper wound care.