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AshlynM's avatar

Is it better to let a wound heal without a band aid or bandage?

Asked by AshlynM (6718 points ) January 19th, 2012

Does it depend on the size? I heard it was best to let the air get to the wound, that somehow helps it heal faster.

Which way is better?

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15 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

No, To keep the wound from collecting dust and dirt… and micro-organisms, it is best to cover it with a sterile dressing.

partyrock's avatar

I’m not sure, but this is how I used to do it.

If I have a sore on my ankle or feet I just let it air out till it dries. Then I put a band aid over it.

I let it dry first.

I don’t know if it’s the right way, but I’ve always done it like this.

Blueroses's avatar

It can be better to let it heal without a bandage. The problem with bandages is that they can trap moisture, dirt and bacteria if they aren’t changed frequently. But, It depends on where the wound is on your body. If it’s somewhere (like your hand) where it’s likely to get accidentally bumped or rubbed frequently, a bandage is good protection while you’re active. Either way, keep the wound clean and give it at least some time with free air circulation.

Moegitto's avatar

It’s advised to let it air out. That means, cover it with a bandage/dressing for awhile, and when you go to change your dressing leave your wound uncovered for a little before your cover it back up. Certain places on your body you want to keep aired out more (like your feet and legs) because of bacteria that can build up because of the sweat your body produces.

CardAngel's avatar

For most of the time during wound recovery, it is better to keep it covered. Keeping it loosely covered prevents further trauma and entry of dirt and bacteria. Using an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin and changing the dressing twice a day until the wound has healed enough to where the chance of infection is unlikely is best. After the wound has healed enough, leaving it exposed to air is acceptable.

JLeslie's avatar

Keeping it covered with a bandaid of some sort and an antibiotic ointment is the best way to avoid or reduce scarring. Changing the dressing twice a day.

marinelife's avatar

Covering it with a band aid is better.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Bandaids keep air from circulating, but they keep the wound clean. An alternative would be a gauze pad kept in place with that crinkly stuff that sticks to itself (because it also breathes).Depending on whether it is a cut or an abrasion, another alternative is that liquid bandage stuff (the one I have is called Nu-skin). Great for cuts. Not good for blisters or road rash.

john65pennington's avatar

Cover it in the beginning. But, when you feel you will be free of outside bacteria, let the open air help to heal it.

My puppy gave me a pretty nasty hand wound. At first, I washed it for 10 minutes with bacteria killing soap. I then used alcohol on the wound, and then triple ointment. I covered it for two days and the third day, I took the dressing off and let the air do its job.

And it did. A week later my hand now has healed much faster.

By the way, my puppy is a 70 pound Great Pyreneese. Playful, but loves to bite hands.

Seaofclouds's avatar

It depends on the wound and what stage of healing the wound is in. Both have benefits, but for optimal wound healing, you have to use the right strategy at the right time. For example, a would that is open and draining needs to be covered with something that is absorbent to pull the drainage away from the wound. The wound needs to be cleaned regularly and the dressing needs to be changed regularly as well.

dabbler's avatar

If you’re airing it out, at least cover the wound with antibiotic salve.
Heck, use a good salve whether or not you have a bandage on the wound.
A good salve will help heal and help keep the nasty micro-organisms that @CaptainHarley mentions from getting established.

saint's avatar

Mother Nature designed the system before there were bandaids. When practically possible that is method of choice. Something that would be crippling or life threatening without intervention by technology should be treated with technology.

Blueroses's avatar

@saint is correct. Scab formation is nature’s band-aid. It’s a protective shield that blocks pain and allows healthy tissue to regenerate under it. This is great for minor lacerations and abrasions and applying salves/dressings could interfere with the scab formation and delay healing.

However, sometimes interference is desirable. It depends on the type and location of the injury. When I had second-degree burns on my hand, it was advisable to keep the site moist and limber with antibiotic salves; prevent scabbing and delay the natural healing mechanisms in order to prevent scar tissue from immobilizing my hand forever.

Happily, it worked. By keeping nature from taking its course, keeping a film of ointment and constantly debrading the affected area – my completely destroyed hand (it looked like a pork-skin treat) now looks entirely normal.

tranquilsea's avatar

My son fairly recently dropped a knife on his foot that needed 6 stitches. To my surprise the hospital recommended keeping the wound covered with bandages for the full 10 to 14 days with the caveat that I needed to use anti-bacterial cream on the wound and change the bandages daily. I did and the cut healed perfectly with no scabbing.

I nearly cut the top of my middle finger off and used the same procedure and my finger healed up great.

I asked about the change with the hospital staff and they told me that drying a wound out and letting it scab over was outdated information

saint's avatar

@tranquilsea It’s sort of sad to say goodbye to Mother Nature. Hope She doesn’t get pissed off about it.

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