Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Abrasive Thought

New evidence suggests a long-held belief might not be as worthy of being held onto as we have thought. I just returned from a short trip to Dallas (actually Irving, TX) where a group met to discuss wilderness first aid (and I hope to report more on that later). One topic was abrasions, a wound typically causing the patient pain--sometimes more than a little--when it is scrubbed clean. According to Dr. William Forgey, an application of an antibiotic ointment applied liberally within 10-15 minutes of the injury and you do not need to scrub. The ointment penetrates the skin, promoting the resistance of infection while protecting the site--and patient's so treated may actually develop an infection less often than when scrubbed. Doc Forgey did recommend removing large particles contaminating the wound prior to applying the ointment. You can brush those particles out with sterile gauze. And he further noted that we need to be ready to scrub if the wound is older than the 15 minutes (or so) time limit.

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