Myth Busted: Should you ‘air-out’ a cut or cover it?
When you have a cut or wound, should you cover it with a plaster or let it “air out”? We know that using a plaster can be useful when you hurt yourself. It covers the wound if it’s still bleeding, and it helps to keep it clean too. But many people believe that a wound needs to be left exposed to the air to help it heal more quickly. So what is the truth?
There are various points to consider when determining whether it’s better to cover a wound or to leave it exposed. Each argument has its pros and cons, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a correct answer.
Why Leave a Wound Uncovered?
Many people say that a wound should be left uncovered to allow it to breathe. It can be argued that sometimes keeping a wound dry can allow it to heal. However, keeping a wound moist is often the most helpful thing to do. There are times when leaving a wound uncovered could be the right choice. For example, some small cuts that are unlikely to be rubbed by your clothes or become dirty can be left without a covering. Once a wound has started to heal and has scabbed over, you might also want to leave it uncovered. There is also evidence that air can help the healing process, so there is a benefit to leaving a wound uncovered.
However, leaving a wound uncovered can have disadvantages. When you don’t cover a wound, it can leave it exposed to dirt and bacteria. Even a small cut or scratch could become infected if it gets dirty. When a wound is uncovered it also risks being knocked, rubbed or scraped. This could interrupt its healing and cause it to start bleeding or knock off a scab before it’s ready to come off.
Why Cover a Wound?
Although leaving a wound uncovered isn’t entirely without benefits, there are more advantages to using a plaster or bandage to cover it. Evidence shows that wounds heal better in a moist environment, and covering a wound with a plaster can help it to stay slightly moist. The use of antibacterial cream or spray can also contribute, and prevent the wound from drying out under the plaster.
Plasters also protect the wound while it’s healing. They prevent the wound from getting bumped or scraped, and allow a scab to form so that it can help the wound to heal. If a scab gets knocked off of the healing process is interrupted, the wound might start bleeding again or could take longer to heal, and it could increase the likelihood of scarring.
When you choose to use a plaster or a bandage to cover a wound, it’s a good idea to change it regularly. The plaster can get dirty and start to peel off, plus it’s a good idea to check on the wound to see how it’s healing and make sure that it’s still clean. You might want to reapply antiseptic cream or something else to help keep the wound moist and keep away infection.
Breathable Plasters Are Best
Covering a wound prevents infection, keeps the area moist for better healing, and prevents the healing process from being disrupted. However, air can also help a wound to heal. That’s why choosing a breathable plaster is the best option.
When you have a minor wound, first clean it with clean water or an antibacterial wipe to help remove any debris or bacteria, as well as clean any blood away. You can use an antibacterial spray or cream to help prevent infection and to keep the wound moist. Finally, use a breathable plaster to cover it up and keep it clean.
There are various types of plaster available to fit any situation. Waterproof plasters can be useful if you want to go swimming, while magnetic plasters are often used in the workplace. There are different shapes available to buy, which can help you to ensure your plaster is applied properly and doesn’t have any wrinkles or gaps. Some plasters are designed to wear on your finger or heel, as well as other awkward areas where applying a standard plaster can be tricky.
Choose the right plaster to cover a wound, and you can protect it while it heals. Change the plaster regularly to keep the wound clean and ensure the plaster is still sticking and covering the wound properly. Once some wounds have started to heal, you might want to stop using plasters if you think that the scab won’t be disturbed.