Cleaning the wound and surrounding skin is usually the first stage in treating a minor wound. Wound cleansing removes debris and other foreign material which, if left, may cause infection. Abrasions require thorough irrigation as ground dirt is frequently embedded in these wounds. An antiseptic solution is recommended to cleanse the wound. The solution must remain on the wound surface for at least two minutes but preferably five minutes and rinsed off with normal saline solution. Recommended solutions are chlorhexidine, povidone-iodine and normal saline.
Clean surgical wounds that have been stitched (sutured) simply require the cleaning of old blood prior to the application of a dry dressing. In some cases it may be necessary to debride the wound before proceeding, in others, repair to underlying structures may need to be addressed before a wound dressing is applied.
Always try to determine the cause of the injury, the object which caused the injury and when the injury occurred. Wounds greater than six to eight hours old have an increased risk of infection. With all traumatic injuries assess the patient's tetanus status and ensure they have adequate coverage. Following this an assessment of the wound can be made for the location, size and depth and any additional trauma to underlying structures such as muscle, tendon nerve, vascular and bone. Animal bites must be monitored for 24-48 hours for signs of infection. Precautionary Antibiotics may be administered.