Cleanup from the Memorial Day tornadoes is ongoing and the risk of injury is still high, so wound care takes on significant importance, Greene County Public Health officials say.
Maneuvering through and clearing debris or downed limbs and trees can pose various risks including being exposed to infectious diseases and chemical hazards as well as suffering other kinds of injuries.
Premier Health and Kettering Health Network are treating at least 385 patients for storm-related injuries, according to the most recent figures released this week. At least 68 of those patients have suffered injuries during the cleanup.
If you suffer scratches or any type of puncture wound, Greene County Public Health officials encourage you to be evaluated for a tetanus immunization.
Take the following steps to protect yourself and your family during the storm recovery:
- Avoid contact with flood waters if you have an open wound.
- Keep open wounds as clean as possible by washing thoroughly with soap and water.
- Cover clean, open wounds with a waterproof bandage to reduce the chance of infection.
- Seek immediate medical care if a wound develops redness, swelling, oozing or other signs of a working infection such as fever, increasing pain, shortness of breath, fast heart rate, confusion or disorientation.
To properly care for wounds:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, if possible.
- Avoid touching the wound with your fingers while treating it (if possible, use disposable gloves).
- Remove obstructive jewelry and clothing from the injured body part.
- Apply direct pressure to any bleeding wound to control bleeding.
- Clean the wound after bleeding has stopped.
- Examine the wound for dirt and foreign objects.
- Gently flood the wound with bottled water or clean running water (if available, saline solution is preferred).
- Gently clean around the wound with soap and water.
- Pat dry and apply an adhesive bandage or dry cloth.
- Leave unclean wounds, bites and punctures open. Wounds not cleaned correctly can trap bacteria and result in infection.
- Provide pain relievers when necessary and check the wound every 24 hours.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible if:
- There is a foreign object (soil, wood, metal, or other objects) embedded in the wound.
- A wound is a result of an animal bite or a puncture caused by a dirty object.
- The wound is infected (pain and soreness, swelling, redness, draining or you develop a fever).
- You have signs of sepsis (blood infection) such as confusion or disorientation, shortness of breath, high heart rate, fever or shivering, extreme pain or discomfort, clammy or sweaty skin.
For more information, call Greene County Public Health at 937-374-5600.