Patient instructions wound care problems

GAUZE The correct gauze looks like folded cheesecloth. Some gauze has cotton filling, which may irritate your wounds - check to make sure that yours does not. Hold the gauze up to a light - you should be able to see little spots of light through the center of the pad.

WHITE PATCHES OF SKIN are usually areas that are being kept too moist, which may lead to a rash or infection. This may be due to a bandage which doesn't breathe enough, wound drainage, or too much ointment. If this occurs, make the dressing thinner, change it more often, and use less ointment.

RED PATCHES OF SKIN may be where the bandage has been rubbing or too tight. If these areas itch, you may have an allergy to some medicine put on your skin.

ADHESIVE TAPE can be irritating. If many bandage changes are anticipated, use tape on the bandage and avoid putting tape directly on the skin.

BURNS can be a real problem with recently healed skin. For several months after your wounds have healed, they may be burned easily by strong chemicals or the sun. Avoid sun exposure or use sunblock on the scars for at least six months. Lip balm with sunblock is a convenient way to carry around a bit of sun protection for scars.

INFECTION should be suspected if there is redness, pain or swelling that gets worse over the course of the day or night, despite elevating the hand. Infection is uncommon less than four days after surgery or more than two weeks after surgery. Please contact me if you have any question about infection.