DÄ internationalArchive21/2013Hydrogel Dressings Are Obsolete
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I find it impossible to understand that none of the guidelines includes as the basis for hygienic wound care soap baths or showers, which should precede any other measures. Water, even sterile saline solution would not have yielded any evidence. These would counteract any surgical hand scrubbing and any recommendation of hygiene committees for healthcare staff to wash their hands after any contact with patients.

What do colleagues do in case of filthy and grossly malodorous wounds, in case the hair on the head is glued together by blood, in case of ingrown stockings, or in case of maggot or insect infestation?

The point of any lavage is to reduce any massive contamination of body cavities and skin by bacteria, fungi, or insects to a minimum. Because of the environment it is impossible to make wounds completely sterile.

By eliminating protein, fat, and detritus, the breeding ground for any pathogens is removed. Further therapies should be undertaken only after this initial step.

It is then of no crucial relevance how the wound is dressed, unless the patient has allergies. Sterile dressings and daily changes of dressings, wherever possible, are what is needed.

For this reason we do not allow hydrogel dressings in our clinic for homeless people. Some 24 hours later, specimens almost always show massive growth of mostly Staphylococcus aureus. In patients with venous-lymphatic stasis, compression therapy is essential.

DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2013.0372b

Dr. med. Fred Reiß
Berliner Straße 99

14169 Berlin

Conflict of interest statement
The author declares that no conflict of interest exists.

1.
Rüttermann M, Maier-Hasselmann A, Nink-Grebe B, Burckhardt M: Local treatment of chronic wounds in patients with peripheral vascular disease, chronic venous insufficiency and diabetes. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2013; 110(3): 25–31. VOLLTEXT
1.Rüttermann M, Maier-Hasselmann A, Nink-Grebe B, Burckhardt M: Local treatment of chronic wounds in patients with peripheral vascular disease, chronic venous insufficiency and diabetes. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2013; 110(3): 25–31. VOLLTEXT

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