Most of us will experience some sort of burn, abrasion, or cut at some point in time in our lives. And while some injuries are minor and can easily be treated at home, others require treatment and attention from a specialist.
Knowing exactly what to do to take care of your wound is important if you want to speed up the healing process and avoid any further complications. But, sometimes it can be hard to tell what type of injury you’re dealing with.
Keep reading for tips on how to take care of your wound at home, know that your wound is healing, and when it’s time to seek help from a specialist.
What to Do to Speed Up Healing
Establishing a good care routine can speed up the healing process of your wound. Taking the following steps will help you heal faster, avoid infection, and minimize scarring.
Keep the Wound Clean
Ensuring your wound is clean and protected can help you prevent an infection from developing. Wash the wound with soap and water and make sure to change your wound dressing often (at least once a day).
For minor burns and cuts, applying a topical ointment such as vaseline can help provide relief as well as a protective barrier that allows your wound to heal.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Studies show that consuming a diet rich in protein, vitamins, and zinc can help speed up the healing process.
Avoid Picking at Your Wound
Picking at your wound can slow down healing, increase your chances of an infection, and lead to scarring.
Optimize blood sugar levels
If you are a diabetic, ensure your blood sugars are well controlled to help wound healing and fight infection.
4 Signs Your Wound is Healing
As your wound begins to heal, it will go through the following stages of healing.
The area stops bleeding
The affected area will stop bleeding and you will see a scab start to form.
You’ll notice some swelling
Some swelling is normal and part of the healing process. This means that your white blood cells are working to fight off germs and bacteria, and help repair your skin.
The affected area becomes smaller
As your skin begins to heal, you’ll notice that the affected area will become smaller over time.
Although some wounds may leave a scar, you can minimize the appearance of it over time by covering the area and applying sunblock regularly.
The healing process can normally take between 30-90 days. Contact your doctor if you notice that the healing process is taking longer than usual, as this could be a sign that you’re dealing with a chronic wound.
When to See a Specialist
A minor wound can easily be taken care of at home using the tips mentioned above. However, it is recommended that you seek out help from a physician or wound care specialist if you believe your wound is more severe or notice any of the following:
You think you might need stitches
A minor wound should clot and stop bleeding on its own. We recommend seeing a doctor if you notice persistent or drastic bleeding and think you might need stitches.
Your wound shows signs of infection
If you notice anything abnormal about your wound (for example, it becomes inflamed, smells, or is painful) or if it is draining green or yellow drainage, you might need additional care.
You have a chronic wound
A chronic wound is defined as a burn, cut, or any other type of injury that doesn’t show signs of improvement within 30 days or more.
If you’re unsure about the state of your wound, a medical professional can advise you whether to come in for further examination and provide you with more tailored tips for taking care of your particular wound.