120613_germs

The left image shows a clump of Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria in the extracellular matrix, which connects cells and tissue. The right image shows the bacterium Enterococcus faecalis, which lives in the human gut. New research indicates that humans share their bodies with more than 10,000 species of microbes.

Taking care of wounds is essential to having healthy skin. If you get a cut, scrape or wound, quick attention is key.

Nurse practitioner Kelly McFee, APRN, of Mosaic Life Care Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy, said that the first thing to do when treating a wound is to clean the area.

“We would recommend cleansing the area with either normal saline or a wound spray and over-the-counter wind spray that you could get at any of the local drug stores and then just keep the area cleaned, usually covered with like a dry gauze dressing paper tape,” McFee said.

When assessing the severity of the wound, McFee said that can vary from wound to wound.

“It’s more based on the depth of the wound itself,” McFee said. “If you have exposed, underlying subcutaneous structures and if you can see the adipose layer, the fat tissue, or if you have a wound that’s deep enough that you have blood spurting out, or if you can’t contain the blood and if you’ve held pressure for five to 10 minutes then that’s something that needs to be looked at.”

McFee said puncture wounds need to be checked out by medical personnel.

“Specifically puncture wounds such as dog or animal bites, they should always be evaluated because you just you can’t see how deep it is,” she said.

It’s also best not to pick at a wound.

“It really depends on the patient themselves. For some people, nothing can happen if you pick. They heal and do just fine,” McFee said. “However, for some patients, picking introduces other bacteria into the wound and it can delay healing and cause wound infections.”

The most common wound infections are bacterial staph infections.

“Staphylococcus aureus is a part of the normal skin flora, but we do see that get introduced into the wound and then you can see that via wound infection. We see staph infection and one of the scary ones we see is MRSA methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus,” McFee said.

Color of drainage is a sign of infection in wounds.

“Normal wound drainage is clear where it’s straw colored or might have a little bit of a blood tinge to it. That’s relatively normal,” she said. “Drainage that becomes creamy or milky or is greenish in nature is definitely something you want to get looked at.”

To to prevent a wound from infection, it’s best to keep it dry.

“We always recommend that open wounds be kept out of the shower water, bath water and definitely out of the lake ponds and swimming pools. You don’t want other critters in your wounds,” McFee said.

To learn more about wound care, you can visit www.mymosaiclifecare.org.

Abby Trapp can be reached

at abby.trapp@newspressnow.com.

Follow on Twitter at @NPNowTrapp