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Rescuing the Skin: A First-aid Management of Dermatologic Conditions

The skin is the body’s first layer of protection. A broken or damage skin puts the person at risk for infection. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the initial management in cases that the skin is injured. Here are helpful managements for some common dermatologic conditions:

Sunburn

Sunburns are considered to be first-degree burns caused by overexposure under the sun. It is characterized by redness, pain, and warmth of the exposed skin area.

  • Protect the area from repeated sun exposure as it is still damaged.
  • Immerse the sunburn in cool water or apply cold compress.
  • Moisturizing creams or lotions can be applied in the area.
  • Avoid applying butter or ointment as this may add further heat in the burn.
  • Do not prick blisters.
  • If the discomfort is too much to handle, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken with precaution.
  • Infants with sunburn should be watched out for fever, blisters, and severe crying which indicates pain. A doctor should be consulted immediately for the above symptoms.

Blister

 

Dermatologic condition

Using protective gloves

Blisters are an elevation of the epidermis that contains watery liquid. As much as possible, if a blister is not too painful, it is left intact covered with gauze or an adhesive bandage. However, sometimes, there is a need to drain a blister, especially when it is causing too much pain.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching a blister.
  • Wash the blister with soap and warm water.
  • Disinfect the blister and surrounding area with povidone iodine or alcohol.
  • Sterilize a sharp instrument (needle or pin) by wiping with a rubbing alcohol or heated in a flame.
  • Use the sterilized instrument to puncture the blister. Prick at the edges while leaving the skin intact.
  • Afterwards, you may apply an antibiotic cream to the blister.
  • Cover it again with a bandage or gauze.
  • Consult a physician about signs and symptoms of infection such as pus drainage, redness, or fever.

Lacerations, Abrasions, Incisions

  • Clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Apply pressure for 10 minutes on the wound using a wet, sterile gauze or cloth to stop the bleeding.
  • Elevate the affected area above the heart if bleeding still continues.
  • Apply an antiseptic such as povidone iodine around the incised wound and an antibacterial cream on the wound when the bleeding has stopped.
  • Cover the wound with a sterile gauze and bandage, putting the edges of the cut together. Use a band-aid for small wounds.
  • Change the dressing every 24 hours or if necessary.
  • Watch out for signs and symptoms of infection such as fever and purulent discharge from the wound. Seek a doctor immediately for any untoward manifestations.

References:

Smeltzer, S., Bare B. (2008). Brunner and Suddarth Medical-Surgical Nursing. New York: Lippincott-Raven Publishers.

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