Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) uses pressurized oxygen to increases blood flow and oxygen levels to injured parts of the body. Used to treat everything from head injuries to open sores, increased oxygen speeds up the recovery process. While hyperbaric therapy aids in healing, knowing how to properly bandage a wound after treatment is half the battle.
Wound care after HBOT
Wounds generally require multiple HBOT sessions before the wound has healed fully. Sessions range from 60-120 minutes. Wound care during HBOT can be painful. Though mild numbing medicine is used, the wound will need to be cleaned. Wounds can take several weeks to heal and proper bandaging during the treatment process is essential. Below are 7 tips for effectively bandaging a wound after hyperbaric therapy.
The healing environment is essential. Wounds need a combination of wet and dry to heal correctly. Too little moisture dries the skin out. Too much moisture can cause additional sores to develop. Wounds are self-moisturizing and produce plasma, histamine, and puss.
2. Control the bleeding
A little blood is a good thing. Blood helps clean the wound and is a sign the wound is healing. If the blood does not seem to be clotting, apply light pressure with an absorbent cloth. Keep the pressure firm until the blood flow stops or slows significantly. If the bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes, medical intervention may be needed.
3. Clean hands
Before changing the bandage on a wound, washing hands is crucial. Antibacterial soap should be used to kill off as much harmful bacteria as possible. Even if hands are washed, infection and bacteria can still be spread. Wearing sanitized latex gloves is ideal. If the gloves are not available, placing a clean barrier between the hands and wound can help. A clean cloth or plastic bag can serve as a substitute.
4. Clean the wound
Cleaning the wound is typically the most painful part of the bandaging process. Medical grade saline solutions can be purchased over the counter in most pharmacies. Saline solutions are sterile and rinse away the bacterial load on the wound. If a saline solution is not available, mild soap and lukewarm water will work. Do not use scented soaps. Cleaning the wound before re-bandaging will encourage new cell growth and prevent infection. Use a washcloth and apply gentle pressure when washing the wound. Scrubbing too hard can remove healthy tissue and cause more bleeding.
5. Selecting the bandage
All bandages need to be sterile. Ensure all parts of the wound are covered and leave a little extra material around the edges. Be careful not to touch the underside of the bandage if possible. Apply an antibiotic medication to the wound before covering. The ointment will aid in the healing process and prevent the bandage from sticking to the wound.
6. Not too tight
Bandages should cover the affected area but not be so tight as to compromise circulation. Coverage should be just enough to prevent dirt and bacteria from entering the wound. Wounds need oxygen to heal. A tight bandage will reduce blood flow, compromise healing, and can increase inflammation.
7. Bandage changing
Changing the bandage daily will allow for monitoring of the healing process. Fresh bandages will also prevent infection from spreading or becoming worse. If the bandage sticks to the wound, soaking the area in lukewarm water can help separate the bandage from the injury.
Your body after injury
After an injury, the body has an oxygen deficit. Wounds will require increased levels of oxygen to heal. Hyperbaric therapy increases blood and oxygen circulation to the affected areas, encouraging new cell growth and reducing inflammation. Inflammation can prevent oxygen from reaching the wound, slowing down the healing process. Lack of oxygen can slow down healing and lead to tissue death. Hyperbaric therapy comes with low risks and high rewards.
Post-treatment wound care
For severe or chronic wounds, hyperbaric therapy is often the first step in recovery. Properly bandaging a wound after treatment can help speed up the healing process. Keeping the wound clean, monitoring discharge, and changing the bandage daily will aid in the recovery process. Patients should consult a healthcare provider for more information on wound care and HBOT.