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Deep wounds can improve with proper care

Scrapes and bruises are a part of everyday life. But even a minor cut or scrape can become infected without proper care. It’s important to keep a close eye on open wounds and to know when to seek medical attention.

“Even something as simple as bumping your leg on the edge of the dishwasher can be the start of a bad wound,” says Tifanie Sbriscia, MSN, RN, CWON, Director, Wound and Ostomy Care for VNA Health Group. “Especially for older adults, their circulation is not what it once was and that can lead to a problem.”

As we age, our skin thins and veins may not pump blood as well as they once did. All this can cause wounds to become infected and slow to heal. Sometimes medical attention will be needed, especially for some of the most common types of deep wounds like bed sores, venous leg ulcers, trauma from a fall or accident, surgical wounds and diabetic foot wounds.

“Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, chills, bad smell, draining a lot, painful, and warm around the opening,” explains Sbriscia.

Here are some of the top tips she shares with her patients:

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly. Soap and water goes a long way-- fragrance free is preferable.
  • Gently dap around the affected area with clean damp gauze pad or cloth
  • Cover the wound as directed by your healthcare provider to protect it, absorb excess moisture, and help with healing.
  • Irrigate your wound with a sterile saline solution during dressing changes.
  • Move around but be careful. Mobility promotes circulation. Move the rugs out of the way to prevent falls and use a walker if you need one.
  • Eat well, including healthy proteins like chicken, yogurt, eggs, fish, and beans. Protein shakes like Ensure, Boost or Carnation Instant Breakfast are good choices. Vitamin C and zinc are especially helpful. Reduce salt intake to help reduce swelling.
  • Drink water.
  • Take all your prescribed medications as directed by your doctor.

Sbriscia says prevention is key. Keep an eye on boney areas like back of heels, hips, elbows, and under belly folds and breasts. This is where skin problems often start. Use fragrance free moisturizer to help keep skin from drying out.

“Generally, a chronic wound is any wound you have had for over 30 days, but they can all become chronic if you don’t care for them,” she adds. “Most chronic wounds can be avoided. Be very diligent and follow the doctor’s orders. The body can do a lot of great things, but you have to help it.”

If you are seeing a medical professional for a wound, you may be eligible for VNA of Ohio homecare or call (216) 931-1300.