Question and Answer on Wound Care and Use of Hand Sanitisers

Accidents happen, and minor cuts and scrapes are a common part of life.

Even though they might seem not that important, taking care of them right is crucial to stop infections and help them get better.

But nowadays, because many people use hand sanitiser, it can get confusing about how it fits into taking care of wounds and preventing infections.

This blog post wants to help by answering common questions about hand sanitiser and looking after wounds. We’ll talk about:

  • The right way to clean and care for small wounds.
  • If you can use hand sanitiser before or after cleaning a wound.
  • How hand sanitiser helps stop infections in wounds.
  • When you need to get help from a doctor for a wound.

By the end, you’ll know how to deal with small wounds and when it’s okay to use hand sanitiser to keep them clean. Let’s get started and clear up any questions you have!

1. Can I use hand sanitiser to clean wounds?

No, you should not use hand sanitiser to clean wounds.

While a small amount of sanitiser might not cause immediate harm, it’s generally not recommended for the following reasons:

  1. Hinders healing: The alcohol content in sanitiser can irritate and dry out the wound, potentially delaying healing.
  2. Painful: Applying sanitiser to an open wound can be quite painful due to the alcohol’s harshness.
  3. Ineffective: Sanitiser might not be strong enough to kill all bacteria and other harmful germs in a wound, potentially increasing the risk of infection.

2. What can I use to clean a wound?

The best way to clean a minor wound is to:

  1. Wash your hands: Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds before touching the wound.
  2. Rinse the wound: Gently flush the wound with clean, running water for at least 5 minutes to remove dirt and debris.
  3. Mild soap (optional): You can use mild soap and clean water around the wound, but avoid putting soap directly in the open wound.
  4. Pat dry: Gently pat the wound dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.
  5. Cover the wound: Apply a sterile dressing to protect the wound from further contamination and promote healing.

For deeper wounds, large wounds, or wounds with embedded objects, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention for proper cleaning and treatment.


Learn More: Join our face to face Wound Care Training For Nurses and Care Workers.


3. Can hand sanitiser substitute rubbing alcohol?

No, hand sanitiser is not a substitute for rubbing alcohol. While both contain alcohol, they have different purposes and concentrations:

  • Hand sanitiser: Designed for hand hygiene to kill germs on intact skin. It typically contains isopropyl alcohol at a concentration of 60% to 90%.
  • Rubbing alcohol: Primarily used for disinfecting surfaces and is not meant for direct contact with open wounds. It usually has a higher concentration of isopropyl alcohol, often around 70%.

Therefore, using hand sanitiser on open wounds is not recommended due to its potential for pain and delayed healing, while rubbing alcohol should never be used on open wounds due to its higher concentration and potential for tissue damage.


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4. Can you use alcohol wipes on open wounds?

Similar to hand sanitiser, it’s best to avoid using alcohol wipes on open wounds.

The alcohol content in these wipes can irritate and dry out the wound, possibly delaying healing.

For cleaning minor wounds, opt for clean running water and mild soap, and always prioritise medical care for more serious injuries.

5. Can I use hand sanitiser before cleaning a wound?

Yes, you can use hand sanitiser on your hands before cleaning a wound.

This helps kill germs on your hands and prevents them from transferring to the wound during the cleaning process.

However, remember to:

  • Only use hand sanitiser on intact skin, not directly on the wound itself.
  • Make sure your hands are visibly clean before applying sanitiser. Dirt and debris can reduce the sanitiser’s effectiveness.

6. Is it okay to use a hand sanitiser after cleaning a wound?

It’s generally not necessary to use a hand sanitiser after cleaning a wound.

After thorough cleaning with soap and water, the risk of germs from your hands is already significantly reduced.

7. Can hand sanitiser help prevent wound infections?

Hand sanitiser can help prevent wound infections by killing germs on your hands.

However, it’s important to remember:

  • Hand sanitiser is not a substitute for proper wound cleaning with soap and water.
  • Sanitiser only kills germs on the surface of your skin, not inside a wound.
  • The effectiveness of hand sanitiser in preventing wound infections depends on various factors, including the severity of the wound and the type of germs present.

8. What should I do if I accidentally get hand sanitiser in an open wound?

If you accidentally get hand sanitiser in an open wound, immediately rinse the area with clean running water for several minutes.

This will help dilute the sanitiser and minimise any potential irritation.

Monitor the wound for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus, and consult a doctor if you have any concerns.

9. When should I seek medical attention for a wound?

It’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention for a wound if you experience any of the following:

  • Deep or large wounds
  • Wounds with embedded objects
  • Heavy bleeding that you cannot control.
  • Signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pus, or fever
  • Wounds on the face, hands, or feet (these areas require extra care)
  • Wounds caused by animal bites or human bites.

Remember, when in doubt, always seek professional medical advice for proper wound care and treatment.

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