It turns out, it’s a good mix of both. The first day or two of the wound, when it is still open and bleeding, proper wound treatment includes apply antibiotic ointment and covering it with a fresh, clean bandage. Leaving a very fresh wound uncovered can dry out new surface cells, which can increase pain or slow down the healing process.
It can also increase the chance of infection, as bacteria can enter a wound that has not begun to scab.
Airing out most fresh wounds isn’t always beneficial because wounds need moisture to heal.It’s important to note that severe wounds cannot heal without moisture.
When you cover a fresh wound, you are essentially locking in the natural moisture necessary to keep the skin cells alive. A dressing, coupled with a topical antibiotic ointment to keep the area moist, will reduce infection and reduce exposure to dirt and germs so further injury does not occur.
Covering the wound offers protection and comfort. You can cover most wounds on your own. However, if the cut is very deep or the bleeding doesn’t stop with pressure within a few minutes, you may need to head to the ER for possible stitches.
Once the wound starts to heal, it will form scabs and blisters to form a kind of natural bandage that protects the body from pain and infection. (Note: not all wounds have to be covered. Minor scrapes and scratches that don’t bleed don’t need to be covered.)
Covering an injury has many benefits, including keeping it moist, which encourages better skin healing.
Once the wound is well on its way to healing, you don’t have to cover the wound any longer unless you are concerned about the propensity to pick at the scab or to reinjure the site. Picking at a scab is the worst thing you can do because it re-injures the area and hampers the healing process, causing you to have to start all over again.
If the injury has occurred in a child, you may want to keep a bandage on for longer than usual so they aren’t tempted to scratch at it. If it’s on the knee, for instance, they could re-injure and open the wound if they fall.
Now you can move onto the next phase of wound management, which is NOT picking at the scab AND doing all you can to prevent a scar from forming. This is when you should gently massage Scarfade into the area twice a day. This is a topical scar treatment in the form of a silicone gel.
It’s always a smart idea to have a tube or two handy in your medicine cabinet in case of cuts and injury!