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While cuts and scrapes are an inevitable part of life, some wounds can't be healed with just salve and bandages. If you find yourself with a complex wound, it’s important to get proper wound care and treatment so you can heal and avoid serious complications like an infection. Even wounds that start out seemingly small can progress to something much worse without managing it.

The first few weeks following an injury are critical to ensure you get the right care and treatment for the wound. We’re here to explain what wound care is, the steps involved in the process and who qualifies to see a wound care physician.

What Is Wound Care?

Professional wound care with a physician involves every stage of wound management. This includes diagnosing the wound type, considering what will aid your healing and the proper treatments for wound management.

Once the wound is diagnosed and all elements are considered, your provider can determine the best treatment options. Depending on the severity of your wound, you may need more care and attention.

Types of Wounds That May Need Wound Care

If you have a wound that won’t heal, your medical provider can likely refer you to a wound care expert. Wound types that may be considered for treatment are:

  • Abrasions (scrapes)
  • Avulsions (removal of tissue)
  • Burns
  • Embolisms
  • Infections
  • Lacerations (deep cuts)
  • Punctures (holes in the skin)

The 4 Steps of Wound Care

Wound care treatment is a multi-step process. There are typically four key steps of successful wound care. They are:

Step 1: Analyze the Wound

To begin wound care treatment, you need to know what kind of wound you have. Your team will determine the beginning appearance of the wound, including its size, how deep it is, drainage amount and the type and appearance of the wound’s surrounding area.

Step 2: Proper Oxygenation

For a wound to heal, your blood needs to send proper oxygen to the area. Nutrition plays a big role in oxygenation, too.

To ensure adequate nutrition, wound care specialists will analyze your current nutrition needs, and prepare a meal plan to deal with any deficiencies.

They pay close attention to vitamins A and E, as well as zinc. Your protein intake may also be optimized to help with wound healing.

Step 3: Prevent and Treat Infection

With wound care, preventing infection is critical. Your care team will monitor the wound closely to ensure an infection does not set in. If an infection has already set in, they’ll monitor and treat it.

Signs of infection include:

  • Continued bleeding
  • Fever and chills
  • Frail tissue around the wound
  • Increased drainage or drainage that smells bad
  • Increased pain or cellulitis

If an infection is left untreated, it can be dangerous. Close monitoring is essential to wound healing.

Step 4: Maintain Coverings and Cleanliness

Proper wound care and bandaging are important to ensure an infection doesn’t set in. Bandages need to be changed regularly, and the wound needs routine cleaning.

Cleaning the wound includes removing dead tissue and bacteria. Topical antibiotics are an option for this. The bandages get changed regularly to stop infection and to give your care team a chance to inspect the wound.

Who Qualifies for Wound Care?

You would be a candidate to see a wound care physician if you have:

  • A wound that won’t start healing within two weeks, or heal completely within six weeks
  • A chronic illness that affects wound healing, such as cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal or heart conditions, pulmonary disease or thyroid disease
  • A mature age (50+)
  • Lifestyle factors that affect wound healing, such as alcoholism, drug use, malnutrition, obesity or smoking

We Can Help You Heal

When you have a wound that looks or feels especially worrisome, our team of wound care experts can help. We offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for both acute and chronic wounds, including treatments for wound infections, embolisms, burns and more.

Our whole-person approach covers everything from diagnosis to treatment, with education and patient-centric support. We make it our goal to get you back to whole health.

Visit us here to learn more about wound care that honors your body, mind and spirit. You deserve to feel whole.

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