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10 myths on wound healing

Cuts on fingers and hands and abrasions on knees: given that those are the most common of everyday injuries, it is surprising how little we know about their proper treatment. Actually, many mistakes are made when it comes to taking care of these (often painful) wounds. That is why we thought it was about time to put the ten most common and persistent myths of wound care to the test. Read on – after a few minutes you will know how to better relieve pain, avoid complications and support the healing process of any future wound or small injury.

1. Myth 01- Do wounds heal better when exposed to air?

Do wounds heal better when exposed to air?

This a myth that has persisted for decades. Surprising, as the top priority of wound care should always be to keep a wound as clean, germ-free and protected as possible. That is why after having cleaned the wound with a wound spray (free of alcohol, so that it doesn't hurt) one should always apply a plaster on the injured area! All Hansaplast plasters are breathable and protect the wound from external influences, so that dirt and bacteria cannot penetrate and the risk of infection is reduced. In addition, the wound pad of the plaster will cushion the wound and protect from painful friction and pressure. Result: Wound healing can take place as undisturbed as possible.

2. Myth 02- Plasters are a possible breeding for germs

Plasters are a possible breeding for germs

Another common myth is that bacteria are supposed to feel especially comfortable under a wound dressing. Quite the contrary is true: Using the correct plaster to cover up a wound which has previously been cleaned out will protect it from contamination through germs and bacteria, thus preventing possible infections. Especially those plasters containing silver as active ingredient of the wound pad are proven to act against a broad spectrum of bacteria and will promote wound healing. The silver contained in their wound pad actually has a direct effect on the bacterias' cell metabolism, preventing a further increase in the number of bacteria and actively combating those microorganisms.

3. Myth 03- The better the wound care, the smaller the scar

The better the wound care, the smaller the scar

Quite true. For thorough cleaning and taking care of your injury with the right dressing or plaster will help your body heal the best it can. Thus, potential complications such as bacterial infections, re-tearing of the wound caused by external influences and crusty scabs are avoided - all of those being factors that would contribute to scarring.

4. Myth 04- Slowly healing wounds can be an indication for serious diseases

Slowly healing wounds can be an indication for serious diseases

Correct. Wounds that take unusually long to heal may very well be a signal of the body. Wounds that are especially reluctant to heal may for example be a typical symptom of a disease such as diabetes mellitus, or may indicate an impaired immune system or blood circulation problems. Therefore it is important to have your wound checked by a doctor for possible causes if you suspect that it takes longer than usual to heal in spite of it being properly cared for.

5. Myth 05- The deeper the wound, the greater the pain

The deeper the wound, the greater the pain

Thinking that this may be true makes sense somehow, as it is easy to assume that a wound may be the more painful the deeper it is. However, just the opposite can be the case. Due to the large number of nerve fibres located just under the top layer of our skin (the epidermis) superficial abrasions or burns will often cause more pain than a stab or a cut that may happen when working in the kitchen or workshop. Caution: any deep puncture wounds or cuts that bleed severely should always be cared for by a doctor!

6. Myth 06- Wounds just need a plaster on day one

Wounds just need a plaster on day one

Many people tend to apply a plaster in the acute phase of the injury only, that is, just until the bleeding has stopped. Then the plaster is removed and discarded as quickly as possible in order "to let the wound breathe".

Scientific studies have shown, however, that in most cases wound healing will proceed better and without complications if the wound is protected with a plaster until they have healed off completely. When using a conventional plaster, it is recommend to change it every day or to renew it after it has gotten wet, for reasons of hygiene.

7. Myth 07- Alcohol cleans and disinfects wounds best

Alcohol cleans and disinfects wounds best

Careful! Unfortunately, this is one of the most common misconceptions around. Alcohol is not a good choice for cleaning and disinfecting an injury for a number of reasons: It will not only burn on your skin when being applied (which makes it particularly unsuitable for treating children´s wounds). What is worse is that it is completely unsuitable for extremely sensitve wound tissue. Experts recommend to use products free of alcohol, containing antiseptic agents such as polyhexanide instead, as correct choice for painless wound disinfection and cleaning.

8. Myth 08- Seawater supports the healing process

Seawater supports the healing process

This is a legend that seems to originate from pirate and adventure novels. Even if many of us would love to believe this romantic theory: we are afraid to have to tell you that it is complete nonsense.

What many people do not consider is that sea water may be severely contaminated, especially near those coast stretches - with a variety of highly unsavoury germs or chemicals "swimming" in it. Both of which would contribute significantly to the risk of an infection and can delay wound healing. In addition, contact with water will swell the skin, which may affect the process of wound closure. In this case, bacteria and germs may easily enter the wound and the risk of wound infection would be increased dramatically.

9. Myth 09- Wounds itch when healing

Wounds itch when healing

We all know the feeling: some time after an injury, the affected area will begin to tingle and itch. This goes especially for superficial wounds.

And yes – in fact, this itching may indicate that the healing process is well on its way.

But do watch out! Should your wound be very red, suppurate, or the itching turn into a throbbing sensation, you should definitely consult a doctor because these could be signs of an infection that should be treated medically as soon as possible

10. Myth 10- Small wounds need not be treated

Small wounds need not be treated

Playing down a small wound? Unfortunately, many of us make that mistake. Though it should be clear to anybody that for a bacterium, even the smallest pinprick offers a huge entry hole into our body. Therefore: Always treat any wound with appropriate wound care, no matter how small it may be. This helps to prevent infection and will ensure optimal healing.