4 Common myths about treating wounds in children

When it comes to treating wounds in children, it is important to know what is fact, and what is plain myth!

As parents, our heart bleeds when the little ones come up to us with their boo-boos. While we’d just like to kiss the pain away, it is important to note that responsible care is necessary for proper wound healing.

Do wounds heal better when exposed to air? Is pus oozing from a wound a sign of infection?

theAsianparent got a chance to bust some common myths related to treating wounds in children, during our 3M Innovation Centre visit recently.

Treating wounds in children

Did you know that these myths might actually be slowing down the recovery process?

Myth #1: Wounds heal better when exposed to air

When it comes to wounds, this is the biggest myth. Contrary to what we grew up hearing, exposing a wound to air so “it can breathe”, is a terrible mistake. This is because it creates a dry environment that leads to the formation of scabs, which will impede recovery.   

The priority should be to keep the wound clean, free of germs and protected. Not only do bandages keep the wound clean, they keep it moist to create a conducive healing environment.

treating wounds in children

Picking at scabs should be discouraged to promote healthy and complete healing and to prevent infection.

Covering cuts and wounds with a bandage also prevents children from picking at scabs and touching their wounds — common habits that can lead to infection.

Myth #2: It is best to remove the child’s bandage off in one quick pull

Tearing a bandage off too fast can in fact, cause the cut to reopen. Instead, remove it slowly, in the direction of hair growth. If the bandage is too tough to remove, try rubbing baby oil or water on the edge to loosen it.

3M Nexcare™ Sensitive Skin Bandages are especially designed to minimise pain during bandage removal. We tried them out and saw the difference for ourselves.

In regular bandages adhesives, force of removing tape is primarily in the skin. With silicon adhesive in 3M Nexcare™ Sensitive Skin Bandages, the force of removing the tape is primarily experienced in the adhesive rather than in the skin! Which, to put it simply, means a super-smooth, pain-free bandage removal for the kids!

These bandages are hence perfect for those with sensitive and fragile skin, particularly, for infants, the elderly, people with hairy skin, and those with chronic skin conditions.

Myth #3: If pus oozes from a wound, it is infected

We often tend to get worried when we see yellowish-brown fluid oozing from a wound.

Again, this is just a normal part of the healing process, and shows that the body is trying to make a scab to protect the wound.

However, do look out for pus that is increasing by the day, thick, green and/or smelly. This could be a sign of infection.

Generally, keeping the wound covered and moist helps in faster healing. The 3M Nexcare™ Hydrocolloid Bandages are highly effective in absorbing pus and secretion.

We witnessed a demo using cucumber, and saw how the 3M Nexcare™ Hydrocolloid Bandages swelled up considerably, when compared to regular bandages, because they had successfully absorbed the fluids from the cucumber. 

treating wounds in children

The 3M Polyurethane film in these bandages adheres well to the contour of the anatomy and thus helps to keep out bacteria, and protects the wound from infection.

Myth #4: When treating a wound, you should keep it as dry as possible

Wounds should never be dry — wound tissue needs hydration just like our bodies.

Cells can’t repair themselves in a dry environment. Studies have shown that, when wounds are kept moist and covered, blood vessels regenerate faster and the number of cells that cause inflammation drop more rapidly than they do in wounds exposed to air.

Apparently, It is best to keep a wound moist and covered for at least five days.

Keeping the cut covered with a high quality bandage will ensure that the wound stays moist, and heals faster. The moisture provides the cells with nutrients and also contains enzymes that help fight infection. Also, moist wounds are less painful and cause less scarring than dry scabs.

Without a bandage, the wound quickly dries out and forms a scab. Such scabs can often result in unwanted, permanent scarring. Scratching out scabs can also prolong the healing process.

Bandages that absorb a wound’s fluids and maintain a natural moisture balance are ideal for healing. The 3M Nexcare™ Hydrocolloid Bandages use hydrocolloid gel instead of a regular cotton pad that encourages moist healing environment. They are also great at absorbing pus and secretion.

We hope we have debunked some wound-care myths. Do note that the information in this article is not a substitute for medical advice. Always see your doctor if the wound is deep, does not stop bleeding, or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling etc.