To say wound care has been around a long time is an understatement. It can, in fact, be traced back to the earliest civilizations, and the ancient Greeks were among the first to stress the importance of wound healing.
Wound care has obviously come a long way since then, and it’s importance in the role of recovery cannot be stressed enough. Here’s a look at why would care plays such a vital role in the recovery process:
Wound Care: The Basics
There are two ways that wounds heal: regeneration or scar formation. During regeneration, tissue that has been damaged is replaced by tissue of the same type. This preserves the proper function of the area of the body that has been injured. In scar formation, the damaged tissue is replaced by fibrous scar tissue which doesn’t have the same properties as the original tissue.
The Importance of Wound Care in Recovery
Proper wound care prevents infection and other complications, and also helps speed up the healing process with less scarring.
By keeping continual attention on the wound dressings and bandages the risk for infection and other complications is greatly decreased. A health professional can make medically-important decisions through changing the dressings, noting the wound’s progress, as well as by making observations of bleeding, temperature, discharge and smell. In general, wounds should be cleaned once a day with disinfectant specific to wound care, clean water or saline, as well as applying clean dressings.
A potentially dangerous myth is that wounds heal faster if left uncovered, which simply isn’t true. Covering the wound throughout the healing process actually hastens the healing process. Moreover, properly maintained bandaging provides additional protection against infection.
Keeping the wound soft through the healing process helps to minimize scars while not allowing hard scabs to form. Antibiotic ointments – and other treatment options recommended by your physician – applied during the early stages of healing will keep the skin around the wound soft and pliable.
Once the wound has healed enough that there’s no risk of infection, antibiotic ointment can be replaced with vitamin E oil, aloe vera gel, or petroleum jelly. Massaging the area while working with the thicker scar tissue to keep it from becoming stiff is also important. Softer skin will heal with a less noticeable scar.
It’s important to note that the wound healing process is complex and fragile. Interruption or failure can lead to non-healing chronic wounds involving factors such as diabetes, arterial or venous disease, infection, and the metabolic deficiencies of old age.