Wound Care Myths
Over the centuries, people have come up with lots of stuff to put on wounds: aloe vera, vegetable shortening, urea of chloroform, and Bag Balm. Sugar, syrup, honey, and molasses were used as far back as 1700 BC. Cobwebs, clay and wool or linen bandages sometimes soaked in gum or boiled in water or wine are all old ways of dressing wounds. A few of these treatment modalities have some beneficial properties, however there are no research studies to support their use in wound healing. Every health care professional should begin learning about, and then debunking, the myths surrounding topical treatments for wounds. Here are some of the most common:
MYTH: Leave wounds open
Originally, wounds were kept uncovered so the bad humors could escape. Now we know that if a wound is left open to the air, a bad humor is more likely to be introduced into it. Keeping the wound uncovered also dries out the surface, making it harder for the wound to heal.
MYTH: Antacids protect the wound bed
The normal pH of the skin is acidic, which helps prevent the growth of bacteria normally found on the skin. Applying an antacid to the wound or the skin around it will change the acid pH, allowing bacteria to grow. It will also dry out the skin and the wound base, thus slowing the healing process.
MYTH: Heat helps wounds heal
The use of hair dryers and heat lamps also dries out the wound bed and thus will slow the healing process.
MYTH: Clean or Pack Wounds with Antiseptics
Agents like povidone iodine, Dakin's solution, hydrogen peroxide, and acidic acid should never be used as cleansing or packing agents when treating pressure ulcers. They kill white blood cells.
Excerpts taken from a Kathy Whittington, Rn, BSN, CETN article found in Aug 1995 RN.