Preventing Wound Infections and Complications at Urgent Care
Cuts and lacerations are among the most common complaints that bring patients to urgent care clinics. Whether a wound originates from an accident with a sharp object, such as a kitchen knife or yard tool, or from a blunt force such as a fall, there may be a risk of infection.
Urgent care providers are responsible for providing treatment that promotes healing and helps prevent wound infection. New wound closure options like the microMend bandage may help.
Wound Infection Statistics
Some patients who visit an urgent care clinic for cuts or lacerations may later develop an infection. Some signs of wound infection include redness, increasing pain, and pus formation.
Infection rates in cuts and lacerations that receive medical attention are fairly low, according to a recent review of the scientific literature. In one observational study reviewed, only 4.8% of patients who sought treatment for simple, uncomplicated hand lacerations went on to develop an infection. Another study reviewed involving patients with simple hand lacerations found an overall infection rate of just 1%.
While overall wound infection rates are low, some patients that present to urgent care settings may have a higher risk of developing an infection due to an underlying condition or the type of wound they’ve experienced.
Wounds at Higher Risk to Become Infected
Some types of wounds have a higher risk of developing an infection than others. Wounds that may be at higher risk include:
- Contaminated wounds. Wounds contaminated with dirt or that contain debris such as gravel may be at risk of infection.
- Bite wounds. Bite wounds come with an increased infection risk due to bacteria in saliva. Up to 14% of dog bite wounds become infected.
- Large lacerations. Lacerations that are longer than 5 cm (1.96 in) may be more likely to get infected than smaller cuts.
Patients at Higher Risk of Wound Infections
Some urgent care patients may have underlying conditions that could increase their risk of wound infections either due to the condition itself or the drugs used to treat it. Some examples include:
- Patients with diabetes. People with diabetes may experience impaired wound healing, with an estimated 15% experiencing chronic non-healing foot ulcers. These open wounds may be vulnerable to infection. Proper diabetes wound care could help ward off a diabetes wound infection.
- Patients who take corticosteroids. Systemic corticosteroids manage a variety of allergic and inflammatory conditions. These drugs affect wound healing and may increase the risk of infection.
- Patients on chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs may reduce patients’ platelet and white blood cell counts and weaken their immune systems. This leaves them more vulnerable to wound infections.
A New Way to Reduce Wound Infections: microMend
To help promote healing and reduce the risk of infection, doctors may close cuts or lacerations with sutures and tissue adhesives or with newer wound closure devices such as microMend. The latter offers a number of advantages when it comes to preventing wound infections.
Provides a Tight, Secure Seal
The introduction of bacteria into cuts and lacerations can cause them to become infected. Tightly and securely closing the wound helps keep the area clean and reduces the risk of infection.
Urgent care doctors can create a tight wound seal with the microMend bandage. The device has tiny, high-tech microstaples that penetrate into the dermis and securely hold the edges of the wound together.
Overcomes Barriers to TreatmentSome patients may be hesitant to seek medical attention for cuts and lacerations if they think they’ll need stitches. Barriers for getting traditional stitches could include anything from a simple fear of needles to a preference for avoiding procedures that require local anesthesia.
Since microMend doesn’t require needles or anesthesia, patients may be more willing to get the wound care they need to prevent infections if they know this option is available.
Reduces Need for Wound Care
Patients who receive traditional sutures may need to perform wound care at home to keep the area clean as it heals. Typical aftercare steps include regularly washing the area with soap and water or applying clean dressings. While these steps could help keep the wound clean and reduce the risk of infection, they may be a barrier for busy patients.
The microMend bandage offers simplified wound care. The bandage covers the wound and can remain in place for as long as 14 days, reducing wound care requirements at home.
Add microMend to Your Clinic’s Wound Care Toolbox
Wound infections are a concern for urgent care patients, especially those who present with high-risk wounds or underlying health conditions. From a fall-related wound to a diabetes wound, the microMend bandage can help you protect patients from infection. Request a quote today to add microMend to your wound care toolbox.