Warning: Skin Care of Skin Tears

Warning: Skin Care of Skin Tears

Posted by AskNurseLinda on Oct 3, 2018 9:25 pm

Skin care is important to overall health. This is because our skin is the first line of defense to keep germs out of our bodies. Skin is the largest organ of the body. It is a living and functioning membrane.

Many people are aware of pressure injuries that occur deep within the body but eventually appear as a red spot on the skin especially over a bone that is close to the surface of the skin. The bone applies pressure from the inside of the body cutting off blood to internal tissues. There is another kind of pressure injury which is a skin tear. This is also considered a pressure injury but the mechanism is different. Skin tears appear from dragging the body over a sheet, clothing, or piece of equipment where the top layer of skin separates from the underlayer of skin.

The separation of skin might look like a blister or the top layer of skin can be partially or fully removed. Another surface skin injury can sometimes be an abrasion that looks like a rug burn. All of these conditions require your attention to keep from further complications.

If the wound is open, you will need to wash the area with soap and warm water. Dry the area softly. A dressing will be needed to protect the now open skin from infection. A topical antibiotic ointment can be applied to the open area to avoid infection and to keep the skin from sticking to the dressing with it is changed (twice daily for most).

Monitor the area for infection which will appear as redness, swelling and warmth. There might be a pus discharge. If so you have an infection which will need oral antibiotic treatment. There have been quite a few reports of these 'little openings' allowing bacteria to enter, left untreated, and leading to sepsis which is an infection that appears in the body, multiplies quickly and can lead to organ failure. As bacteria in our world has become more resistant to antibiotics, these little cuts have become more vulnerable to infection than even just a few years ago. 

Avoid complications from skin tears by being careful with your body. You might not feel if you throw your arm or leg onto the bed or in your chair but your body will still react to rough treatment by bruising, cuts or skin tears. There are protectors that you can use on elbows and heals to help avoid these tears. Insist that care providers be gentle as well. Your body is precious. Take good care of it. Nurse Linda

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