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Acute Wound Care


An acute wound is an injury that causes a break in the skin.



  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return to have your stitches or staples removed, wound checked, or bandage changed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

  • If your wound was closed with thin strips of medical tape, keep them clean and dry. The strips of medical tape will fall off on their own. Do not pull them off.
  • Keep the bandage clean and dry. Do not remove the bandage over your wound unless your healthcare provider says it is okay.
  • Wash your hands before and after you take care of your wound to prevent infection.
  • Clean the wound as directed. If you cannot reach the wound, have someone help you.
  • If you have packing, make sure all the gauze used to pack the wound is taken out and replaced as directed. Keep track of how many gauze dressings are placed inside the wound.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have muscle, joint, or body aches, sweating, or a fever.
  • You have more swelling, redness, or bleeding in your wound.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you have a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have pus or a foul odor coming from the wound.
  • You have sudden trouble breathing or chest pain.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Acute Wound Care (Discharge Care)

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