Injury to the skin can occur with accidents, burns, and infections. The following are guidelines to help your wound heal more quickly and to prevent spread to others:
1. Keep wounds covered with a clean, dry non-stick (telfa-type) bandage and bacitracin ointment. Change the dressing each day or more often if it becomes dirty or damp.
2. Wash hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel (if hands are not visibly soiled). For effective hand-washing use warm running water and soap for at least 15 seconds. Always clean hands immediately after touching infected skin or any item that has come in direct contact with a draining wound. Avoid repeated touching of your nose, face, or other skin area.
3. Maintain good general hygiene with regular bathing.
4. Do not share items that may become contaminated with wound drainage, such as towels, clothing, bedding, bar soap, razors, and athletic equipment that touches the skin.
5. Launder clothing that has come in contact with wound drainage after each use and dry thoroughly. Use hot water for the wash and bleach, if possible.
6. If you are not able to keep your wound covered with a clean, dry bandage at all times, do not participate in activities where you have skin to skin contact with other persons (such as athletic activities) until your wound is healed. Do not run, or lift weights if the area is painful or swollen.
7. Clean equipment and other environmental surfaces with which multiple individuals have bare skin contact. Clean the equipment or surface with an over the counter detergent/disinfectant that is suitable for the type of surface being cleaned and specifies Staphylococcus aureus on the product label. (If appropriate for the surface, a homemade solution of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart water can be used for cleaning.) Avoid contact with the bleach—wearing gloves or protective eye wear, if needed.
8. Avoid swimming and hot tub use until the infection has resolved.
9. Check on your tetanus immunization status. A tetanus booster may be recommended if your last booster was over 5 years ago.
10. Call for an appointment at the Student Health Center (SHC)804-752-3041 if the wound is not improving or if you have any questions or concerns about the wound.
Emergency evaluation is advised for the following symptoms:
• Worsening redness and/or swelling of the affected area
• Painful or limited movement of the affected area
(Adapted from March 2006 Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention practice guidelines)