Wound Check in Children: Care Instructions

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Children have wounds that need care for many reasons. Your child may have a cut that needs care after surgery. Your child may have a cut, scrape, or puncture wound from an accident. Or your child may have a wound because of a boil or an abscess.

Whatever the cause of the wound, there are things you can do to care for it at home.

The doctor may also want your child to come back for a wound check. The wound check lets the doctor know how your child's wound is healing and if your child needs more treatment.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If the doctor told you how to care for the wound, follow the doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice for minor wounds:
    • You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
    • Avoid using an antibiotic ointment unless your doctor recommends it.
  • Keep the wound dry for the first 24 to 48 hours. After this, your child can shower if your doctor okays it. Pat the wound dry.
  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • If your child has stitches, do not remove them on your own. Your doctor will tell you when to come back to have them removed.
  • If your child has tape strips, leave them on until they fall off.
  • If possible, prop up the injured area on a pillow anytime your child sits or lies down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your child's heart. This will help reduce swelling.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new pain, or the pain gets worse.
  • The skin near the wound is cold or pale or changes color.
  • Your child has tingling, weakness, or numbness near the wound.
  • The wound starts to bleed, and blood soaks through the bandage. Oozing small amounts of blood is normal.
  • Your child has symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the wound.
    • Pus draining from the wound.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter C206 in the search box to learn more about "Wound Check in Children: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.