Special for the Record & Landmark
Your skin is your body’s largest organ and the first line of defense against disease-causing germs, bacteria, and viruses. When a cut, scrape, burn or bite breaks down your skin’s protective barrier, harmful germs can enter and cause an unwanted wound infection.
If you find that your sore or wound is not healing as usual, it’s time to see a doctor. Chronic untreated or non-healing wounds can lead to reduced quality of life and possible amputation of the affected limb.
June is Wound Care Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and encourage people with chronic wounds to seek help.
According to Tara Triplett, clinical coordinator for Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center, seven million Americans live with a chronic wound and one in four families has a family member with a chronic wound.
As summer approaches and people spend more time outdoors in hot weather, careful attention to injuries becomes even more critical.
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“Summer brings its own particular challenges and risks. Acute injuries, such as sunburn, injuries from grilling and fireworks, insect bites and stings, poison ivy, splinters, scratches, cuts and scrapes, can expose vulnerable people to hard-to-heal injuries,” said Megan Purser, nurse practitioner at Iredell. Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center, part of the Healogics network.
According to Healogics, the nation’s leading provider of advanced wound care, the number of chronic wounds in America is increasing due to diabetes, age and obesity, among other factors.
Factors that may put you at higher risk of developing a non-healing wound include:
• Poor nutritional intake
• Unrelieved pressure on a part of the body
• Swelling of the lower leg that has not been treated with compression
• Unmanaged high blood pressure
• Untreated infections in new wounds
Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce your risk and prevent chronic sores and infections.
First and foremost, it is crucial to follow the advice of your primary care providers and specialists. If they recommended compression socks or stockings, be sure to wear them in order to manage your swelling and prevent injuries from occurring. According to Purser, diabetic patients with neuropathy should never walk barefoot or wear only socks.
“Patients prone to swelling should wear appropriate compression stockings and frequently support feet and legs when it is hot outside. If your legs feel sore, tight, or heavy, this may be a warning sign- runner they start to swell,” Purser said.
During the summer months, insect bites, sunburns and cuts are more common. When enjoying the outdoors, be sure to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, insect repellent, and shoes.
While most minor cuts heal without medical attention, puncture wounds caused by fingernails, teeth, or knives pose a high risk of infection. According to Healogics, puncture wounds are more susceptible to tetanus due to infectious bacteria found in soil, dust, manure and saliva. If you have not received a tetanus vaccine for 10 years, you must consult immediately.
Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center
If you are concerned about an injury or have noticed that your wound is not healing as usual, it is essential to seek medical attention.
“Unfortunately, there are many wounds in our community that go untreated or undertreated. It is important for our community members and health care providers to know that advanced wound care is available,” Purser said.
Iredell Wound Care, designated as a Center of Distinction by Healogics, provides advanced specialist treatment for chronic or non-healing wounds. A patient’s individualized treatment plan may include specialized dressings, debridement, compression therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, advanced cell products and topical growth factors, edema management, or non-vascular vascular assessments. invasive.
“Smaller, uninfected wounds do not limit a patient’s ability to be referred for wound care. We are here as a resource and are happy to answer questions or provide advice on wounds that providers and patients might be concerned about,” she added.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Iredell Wound Care, call 704-768-0542. To learn more, visit iredellwoundcare.com.
“Some wounds don’t heal on their own without treatment. Specialized wound treatment can heal a wound in less time, bringing life and pleasure back to the patient and family. My goal is to treat and heal as many wounds as possible in our community,” Purser said.