Depending upon your health condition you or your loved ones may be faced with a wound during the course of your illness. The treatment for your wound(s) will be specific to you and what medical condition you are experiencing. It is important that you have a basic idea of what to look for in a wound if were to begin producing exudate, or draining. With this knowledge base you will be able to decide if it is something that is a normal part of the healing process or if it is something that should be reported right away to your provider.
You may wonder, “Well what exactly should I be looking for when I see exudate coming from my wound?” Exudate, also known as drainage, is a liquid produced by the body in response to tissue damage. As healthcare professionals, we want our patients’ wounds to be moist, but not too moist. The type of drainage we observe can tell us the story of what is most likely going on in a wound. Drainage can be classified in the following different ways:
Ø Sanguineous Drainage
o This may appear to you as blood that drains from a recent wound. It is characterized by a bright red color. Generally, it is seen in partial thickness and full thickness wounds. Sanguineous drainage is not common in wounds after a few hours or days, and if you experience this later it may be indicative of trauma to the wound site.
Ø Serous Drainage
o If you are experiencing drainage that appears thin, clear and slightly thicker than water, it is known as serous drainage. This occurs during the healing process of the wound. Most types of wounds excrete some amount of serous drainage, usually making it something you should not have to worry about. However, if you notice that the there continues to be more and more serous drainage, or it comes at a rate that seems to regularly soak through dressings, it may indicate a larger issue. You should not hesitate to have the wound examined by your provider if this type of drainage is in excess.
Ø Serosanguineous Drainage
o This may be observed as watery drainage with a thin consistency. It will appear pale red to pink in color. Nurses tend to document this finding a lot when assessing wounds; however it is not exactly what we would like to see in a wound. The visible pink tinge, which comes from red blood cells, indicates to us that there was damage done to the capillaries when dressings are being changed. It is important to avoid damaging these capillaries because they are responsible for the adequate perfusion to the wound area to allow the area to resolve more quickly.
Ø Seropurulent Drainage
o You will observe that this drainage is similar to serous drainage in its thickness (slightly thicker than water). Seropurulent drainage is cloudier in its transparency and can be slightly yellow or tan in appearance. There could be an odor. Drainage of this sort usually indicates that the wound has become infected, and it is at this point that you should immediately seek further treatment.
Ø Purulent Drainage
o Patients will describe this drainage as being “milky” in appearance. Purulent drainage is almost always a sure sign that an infection has developed. This type of drainage can be green, yellow, brown or white in color with a thick consistency. Odor may also be noted.
With this simple background related to types of wound drainage, you should now be able to better distinguish between the types of drainage that are expelled from yours. If ever you have an inclination that you should seek further treatment, never hesitate to contact your provider. Total Home Health has a program that is right for you and the wound treatment that is specific to your personal needs.