Caring for Chronic Wounds and Preventing Infections
Chronic or non-healing wounds are sores that have not significantly improved from conventional treatments. Associated with inadequate circulation, poorly functioning veins, and immobility, non-healing wounds lead to lower quality of life and may lead to amputations. While some wounds heal by themselves, others need specialized care and treatment provided by the specialists at the Wound Healing Center at Doctors Hospital.
Here are some tips to help a wound heal and prevent further infection:
- Clean, Clean, Clean. Wash your hands and wear protective gloves (latex or vinyl) when dealing with your wound. Keep or change those dressings just as you've been instructed. Keep surfaces where you'll be changing wound bandages and/or applying topical ointments clean and disinfected.
- Sleep. Your body does most of its healing while you sleep. The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
- Nutrition. Your body is its own best healer. Ask a nutritionist about the benefits of vitamins such as C, B and E, calcium and zinc, and the importance of a diet high in protein. Amino acids in protein help build muscles, skin, hormones and your immune system. But you can't get enough from the foods you eat when dealing with stubborn wounds.
- Antibiotics. While antibiotics may be necessary to fight an infection, they can also rob your colon of good bacteria that cleans your system. It's worth investigating the benefits of eating yogurt, or taking acidophilus or a probiotic during your course of antibiotic treatment. You can also speak with a nutritionist about supplements.
- Step Safely. Most slow-healing wounds occur in lower extremities, so it's important to practice daily foot care, especially if you're diabetic.
- Check your feet daily for abrasions or athletes foot.
- Wear custom-fitted shoes with socks. Shoes that are too big or too small can cause friction and create blisters.
- Trim your toenails; maintain proper foot hygiene.
- Never walk barefoot, especially outside.
- If a cut or sore does occur, wash it with soap and water before applying a topical antibacterial medication like Neosporin®. Protect your wound with the right size bandage and keep it dry.