Symptoms and Signs of Wound Care

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 8/17/2021

Doctor's Notes on Wound Care

Wounds are an injury to living tissue caused by a cut, blow, or other impact trauma, typically where the skin is cut or broken. Types of wounds include superficial (small cuts or abrasions that leave the deep skin layer is intact), deep abrasions that go through all layers of skin and into a tissue like muscle or bone, ones caused by sharp objects entering skin, gunshot wounds, human and/or animal bites, and pressure sores (bedsores). The most common symptoms and signs of a wound are pain, swelling, and bleeding. Other signs and symptoms of more serious wounds include substantial tissue loss and/or significant damage to an internal organ like the lungs, brain, or heart with subsequent signs and symptoms that relate to the injury of the organ. Signs and symptoms of wounds that need to be medically cared for are as follows: significant force or trauma created the wound, bleeding that cannot be stopped with persistent pressure or elevation, wounds in the face including the lips or eyes and/or the wound needs to be sutured, wound is caused by an animal bite or human bite, the wound is very dirty, there is evidence of infection (redness, swelling, increased pain, and pus production), and/or the wound involves underlying organs and/or tissue loss.

Causes are numerous for wounds. Falls, road rash, stabbing, cuts from metal or glass, gunshots, blunt objects like a piece of wood, explosions, and many other items can cause wounds. Wound care (clean away dirt, stop the bleeding, assess for associated organ damage, close the wound with stitches, and other techniques and treatments) help prevent further body damage and encourage wound healing.

What Is the Treatment for Wounds?

Essentially, wound care is itself a treatment. The following is treatment of minor wounds located in the skin:

  • Wash your hands before tending the wound.
  • Stop the blood flow or oozing with gentle pressure using clean cloths or pads.
  • Use clean flowing water and soap to clean the wound area.
  • Apply an antibiotic or petroleum jelly.
  • Cover the wound with a bandage.
  • Change the wound covering as needed (once a day or when wet or dirty).
  • Get a tetanus shot if you haven't had one in 5 years.
  • Look for signs of infection (redness, pus, drainage, swelling, pain).

Serious wounds should be cared for by medical caregivers.

Must Read Articles:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.