Is it better to let my wound heal in open air or covered?
Covered wounds heal better than wounds exposed to open air. Wounds heal best when the wound bed is kept moist and the healing cells can travel across the wound to close it. At the Wound Care Center, we prescribe dressings to help your wounds maintain just the right amount of moisture. Your dressings also prevent your wound from environmental contamination.
Is it OK to shower while my wound is in its dressing?
It is generally OK, unless you have stitches, staples, exposed bone or your doctor has advised against it. Be sure to consult with your care team before getting your dressings wet. If you need to keep your wound dry, use a plastic bag or some sort of plastic cover to keep it dry when you shower. Typically, you should not be "soaking" your wound.
How long are hyperbaric treatments?
Treatments generally last two hours.
How often will I need hyperbaric treatments?
It depends on your diagnosis but it usually ranges between 20 to 40 treatments administered daily except on weekends.
What if I forget to change my dressing?
As soon as you remember, change your dressing. Be careful when removing it, in case it's stuck to the wound. If your wound does get stuck to the dressing, use just enough water to soak it off so it comes off without causing you any pain. Then, redress your wound as your doctor has directed.
How do I cleanse my wound?
Cleanse your wound using normal saline – salt water– or a special wound cleanser prescribed by your doctor.
Can I use a whirlpool to clean my wound?
No. Water under pressure may drive bacteria or germs into the wound tissue. We do not typically recommend a whirlpool on a regular basis.
If I get dry skin, can I use lotion?
Yes, skin that's kept moist is less likely to break down. But do not put skin lotion in the wound. If you have skin that's broken open, please ask your doctor for a recommended product.
What kind of lotion does the center suggest?
An emollient lotion is recommended. Emoillient lotions put moisture back into the skin instead of covering the skin as another layer. Do not use petroleum jelly because it forms a separate layer. Examples of emollients are Curel Moisturizing, Nivea, Neutrogena, A&D ointment, Vitamin A&D, Eucerin Moisturizing, Keri Lotion and Lubriderm.
Will the sun's rays or a sun lamp help my skin?
No. Sunlight and sun lamps dry out the wound bed with is counteractive to your wound healing. At the Wound Care Center, we will work with you to keep the wound at just the right moisture level. In addition, sun exposure or sun lamps can cause a burn or other problems.
What does it mean if an area of my skin changes color?
Some skin changes are not harmful. Others, like redness, can be a sign of problems. Inspect the skin around the wound daily for any changes. Show any changes, especially redness, promptly to your healthcare provider.
Can I use betadine or hydrogen peroxide on my wound?
No. We do not recommend these solutions because they can kill healthy cells.
I am a diabetic, is it important to keep my blood sugar under control?
Yes, it is very important. High blood sugar can slow down or prevent wound healing. Talk to your wound care physician to determine the right blood sugar levels for you.
What other issues should I tell my wound care physician about?
Please inform your physician of any of the following:
- Wound pain
- Increased wound drainage
- High blood sugar (for diabetics)
- Redness in the skin around your wound
- Wound bleeding
- Changes in your body temperature, blood pressure or mental orientation
- Need for dressing supplies
- Any new wounds found on your body
- Any changes in your medications
- Difficulty completing the prescribed dressing changes
- Any questions or concerns you have about your wound care
Any wound that has not started to heal in two weeks or completely healed in six weeks may benefit from a specialized wound care center. Ask your physician if a referral to the Wound Care Center at CMC-Mercy would be the right option for you.