With approximately 3.6 million open wounds being reported in the U.S. each year, this concept is a familiar one to both physicians and patients. Under normal circumstances, the idea of having an open wound would not raise alarm. As long as waterproof wound covers are used to facilitate healing and prevent infection, this event would be relatively commonplace.

But now that the U.S. has surpassed 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, it’s understandable that we’re concerned about the risk of disease transmission. As a medical professional, you’re undoubtedly providing guidance for those in your care to keep them safe. However, because there’s so much we still don’t know about the novel coronavirus, keeping confusion to a minimum is more important than ever.

If a patient has a large open wound, they may be wondering about whether their contraction rate could increase if they forget to cover that wound with waterproof adhesive bandages. The question is a good one, as many diseases can be transferred this way and many of us want to do everything necessary to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Medical experts assert that there is nothing that proves coronavirus can be transmitted in this way. Although it is conceivable, there’s no data to back up this idea. What’s more, as the American Society for Microbiology points out, viruses need to attach to specific receptors on a host cell’s surface in order to begin an infection. Because those receptors wouldn’t be present, if the coronavirus entered through a cut or open wound, it’s actually highly unlikely that you could become infected in this manner. COVID-19 transmission via contact — through respiratory means or touching a contaminated surface before making contact with facial mucous membranes — is the most common way the virus spreads.

While there’s no direct evidence that COVID-19 can be transferred through open wounds, it’s worth mentioning that the use of waterproof bandages is still recommended — particularly if the patient’s wound is located on the hands or face. Frequent hand -washing is one of our best defenses against COVID-19 at the moment, so using waterproof wound covers can be a good way to keep open cuts consistently protected while following health and safety guidelines. Using waterproof wound covers to protect a cut or surgical wound on the face is also a wise choice; not only will this keep a patient from touching their face (and thus reducing potential spread), but it can also promote comfort and consistent protection as warmer temperatures combine with the need for mask-wearing in public settings.

Given what we currently know, physicians and surgeons can advise their patients that the medical community has yet to see any definitive proof that COVID-19 can be transmitted through open wounds. Still, waterproof wound covers can minimize the risk of some infections and can allow the body to heal more quickly. This, in turn, can promote greater health — something we all need during this pandemic. Even if the novel coronavirus is not likely to spread in this way, using a waterproof wound cover to cover scrapes, cuts, and surgical areas is a smart choice for all.

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