Covering up wound vs. letting it air out

Got a pretty big abrasion road-rash type wound on the leg but it’s not deep. There seem to be two schools of thought on the issue: One says keep it bandaged for a while, the other says let it air out and come in contact with air and keep it dry. What is the reasoning behind each approach?

Moist wound healing is the way to go. The wound will heal 3-5x faster with a much less chance of scarring. So put a thick layer of ointment on the wound and cover it up.

Anaerobic bacteria are more dangerous than aerobic bacteria. So if you have a dead limb, you want it to dry out, not spoil.

But that’s not the “reason” behind dry wound healing for a skin rash: people just like to take their bandages off and let the wound dry out – there isn’t any more reason than that…

IME, it depends on the type and severity of the wound. For instance, deep puncture wounds should not be covered (or have ointment applied) at least in the early stages. I had a few puncture wounds in my arm a while back and I cleaned it and applied Neosporin and bandaged it up. In the few days following this, I was alarmed at how much worse the injury seemed to have gotten. In desperation, I just stripped off the bandages and let it air out. Very quickly the healing process started and what initially appeared like a possible emergency room visit became an easily-addressed DIY matter. Scraps and abrasions, however, respond well by ointments and covering.

I would think ointment and covering could ease any pain, at least.

It’s probably been answered multiple times, but if repetition of like advice helps validate it, don’t put antiseptic and a tight bandage on a deep wound. Ever. I learned that the hard way. The flesh stays soft and can’t form a scab and the infection eats down into the fatty layers of the skin instead of the wound closing at all.

But on your end, I think really either option is probably perfectly fine. Know that antiseptic with a forgotten, left-on bandaid can soften scabs, though.

Personally, I’d only put a bandage on something big enough and raw enough - something you think might turn yellow if you leave it overnight untreated. Else, treat it with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide every once in a while with no bandaid.

I vote thin coating of ointment then let it air dry. Cover only if you’re going out and about, uncover once home again.

If it were my abrasion, I’d let it air dry, after I cleaned the wound. If it’s where clothing is going to rub on it, I’d put a bandage over it, but generally open is better.

This is just me, but I put Bacitracin and a bandage on a wound at night while asleep (so I don’t tear it up further and/or bleed on the sheets); if at home the next day, leave it uncovered until I go out somewhere. I heal rapidly already–if The Shop ever finds out, I’ll probably disappe

Same; I’d put a dry bandage over it for sleeping as well. If you don’t want to pull hairs off, use a non-stick bandage and wrap it well w/ an ACE or stretchy wrap. Rinse it w/ hydrogen peroxide and air dry until there’s a dry scab.

Thanks for the feedback - learned a lot of new things. Unfortunately some people are saying “cover when home, dry out when out,” and others saying “cover when outside, then dry out at home” :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe Qadgop will come along, but I think that in past threads, he’s recommended letting it air out. Hopefully he (or another med professional ) will be along to clear it up.

Pretty much the only time I cover a wound is when I don’t want to bleed/ooze onto things like my clothes or furniture. Outside of those circumstances, I can’t be bothered to maintain a covering. For one thing, I hate the sticky residue that is inevitably left behind by band-aids.

How’s your abrasion today?

Another for this but I also give it a good regular coating of merthiolate (I don’t think the new stuff is nearly as good as the old stuff) or horse liniment. I’m old and was raised in a farm-ish family; we use horse liniment for everything.

It’s still in the oozing stage today but already stopped hurting and started itching. I loathe itching more than pain, but it’s a sign of healing so I guess that’s good.

Yay itching! The oozing can be lessened by a rinse w/ hydrogen peroxide, and that shouldn’t hurt to do.

On the other hand, it will heal faster, and with less scaring, if it’s closed. So in this context, “better” means how you feel about it.

It is an interesting question, why people (myself included) feel this way. But wound healing is a well-known problem, so the medical facts are clear.

My mother would vote for bandages, like, never. She was always insisting that we let cuts and scrapes air out. It was as though there was a worldwide shortage of bandages and she was personally responsible for managing the dwindling supply. To this day, whenever I use one, I feel like I’m getting away with something totally scandalous.

I ended up in the ER after I fell on my bike & broke my collarbone a couple of years back. I had some good road rash on one arm. The ER covered it with Tegaderm which by design keeps the wound moist but i think also has some antibacterial materials in it.

I still have a faint scar on my wrist about the size of a quarter. Probably on the outside of my elbow as well but I don’t see that part of me very often.