Dermatology and aesthetics
Superficial woundsWhat are superficial wounds
- What are superficial wounds
What are superficial wounds
The wounds consist in an interruption of the integrity of the tissues that cover the body and can be distinguished according to their depth (therefore they can be superficial or deep) and to the characteristics of the agent that caused them. The latter criterion allows a distinction to be made between tip wounds (those caused, for example, by a nail or dagger), by cutting (if caused by a blade) or lacerated bruises, i.e. when what causes the injury, a due to a set of forces acting simultaneously, it causes a crushing and laceration of the skin, causing an irregular opening on it.
The superficial wounds can be further distinguished in abrasions, which consist of superficial damage to the skin, and grazes, which extend deeper than the first ones, going to touch the skin and the subcutaneous tissue, or the tissue immediately below it.
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Even if a superficial wound usually does not cause life-threatening, it is very important to carry out appropriate treatments so as not to face annoying complications. Bleeding, which is usually modest in the most superficial wounds (apart from in areas where there are many capillaries, such as the lips), is the first event following a wound and, sometimes, if not treated properly, it can evolve into hemorrhage, that is, in the continuous leakage of blood due to the lesion of the blood vessels, arterial or venous: in the first case the blood will be bright red and will come out with some force, while in the second it will be dark red and the leakage will be less energetic .
When a venous vessel breaks, the bleeding usually subsides in a few minutes, both because the blood flow is modest and because coagulation processes are activated immediately by the body which have the purpose of forming a sort of "swab physiological". If, on the other hand, the bleeding comes from an arterial vessel, the duration of the flow is greater, and since this is more energetic and continuous, the normal buffering action implemented by the body (i.e. the formation of a thrombus) is hampered. .
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When superficially injuring yourself, it is important to first obtain a clean swab, which can be either gauze or cotton or even a handkerchief, and firmly and sustainably compress the wound. At the moment when the bleeding is stopped, or in any case diminished (which happens in a few minutes), you can try to calmly medicate the wound with a more suitable material. However, if the injury was caused by a dirty object or in an external environment (therefore not particularly clean and where soil can be present), it is important to wash the wound thoroughly with running water before applying the pad. It is good to keep the swab on the wound for a certain time, continuing to compress, because in this way mechanical closure of the injured vessels is determined and the clot forms more quickly. Once bleeding has stopped, it is necessary to disinfect the lesion: any product can be used for the surrounding skin, but it is preferable to use a povidone iodine-based disinfectant. In any case, it is important to avoid wetting the injured area directly with denatured alcohol or with iodine tincture, with which you risk damaging the tissues under the skin and therefore slowing down the healing process.
The intact skin can be cleaned by rubbing vigorously, while the disinfection of the wound must be done in a gentle way, so as not to remove the clot and not to resume bleeding in this way. After the wound has been disinfected, it must be covered (preferably with sterile material) and fixed with plasters or bandages.
If an ice pack (which can be natural or "synthetic") is applied over the dressing, small bleeding stops more easily and therefore the onset of swelling and pain after the injury is limited.
It can sometimes happen that, despite the measures taken, the wound continues to bleed: in this case the compression must not be interrupted on the lesion and a swab must be applied over the dressing until the bleeding stops. In any case, it is good to contact medical personnel or nurses, who will be able to manage the situation in the most appropriate way. It is necessary to carry out more in-depth tests to evaluate the possible involvement of tendons, muscles, nerve branches or important blood vessels and, therefore, decide whether it is better to intervene with simple sutures or by resorting to surgery.
It is very important that superficial wounds are kept in the right consideration: neglecting them, exposing them to the external environment before they have healed, can put them in the condition of becoming infected and therefore delaying their healing. In the event that an infection is generated (recognizable by the redness of the edges of the wound, local swelling and pain) it is very important to submit the wound to the evaluation of the doctor who, if necessary, will prescribe antibiotics, if for example there is pus, or, in some cases, will decide for surgery.
It is good to know that every wound, especially if dirty with soil, exposes to the risk of tetanus and that it is therefore essential to be protected from such an eventuality by means of tetanus vaccination.
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