Knowing how to treat wounds at home can prevent infection.

For elderly individuals who are living independently or within care service homes, the importance of understanding how to efficiently treat wounds on your own is crucial. Whether it’s the result of falling down in the kitchen or a complication from diabetes, wounds can come in all shapes and sizes, and need to be effectively treated as soon as possible. Here are just a few tips regarding how seniors or caretakers can proactively take measures toward wound healing abilities.

Know the types of wounds

There is a difference between a minor scrape from the pavement and an open gash from an infection. The wide variety of wounds that can arise also means there are many different forms of treatment that will properly heal them. Focusing primarily on the more serious variations, there are two main types of wounds, acute and chronic.

Acute

Acute wounds are injuries that occur on the skin suddenly rather than over time, often resulting in injured tissues being exposed to the air. Acute wounds can be extremely painful, and due to the air exposure can in some cases lead to infection, as well as further damage toward vessels, nerves and muscle tissue. Any instance where the skin is irritated or ruptured, including incisions, punctures or tears will result in an acute wound. Pain, bleeding and swelling are the general symptoms, and treatment must be provided as quickly as possible. The basic steps toward acute wound healing include:

  • Apply pressure and control the bleeding
  • Use soap or saline solution to cleanse the area of the wound
  • If possible, remove any dirt, glass or debris that is in the wound
  • Dress the wound temporarily, closing off exposure until receiving medical attention
  • After hospital or clinic visit, take the necessary antibiotics prescribed and follow their directions

Chronic

If your acute wound fails to heal properly, this can lead toward the injury progressing into a chronic wound. This is generally the worst scenario for a wound, because the failure to heal properly has led to an abandonment of blood, oxygen and nutrients being administered by the body to the injury. Potential side effects that can stem from the development of a chronic wound include:

  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Infection
  • Severe inflammation
  • Radiation poisoning
  • Surgery

When a wound progresses to a chronic phase, at-home healing essentially becomes out of the question. Professional medical attention is the only option to properly treat the wound at that point, and extended stays at a hospital might also be a necessity. Understanding the state of your injury and its potential outcomes is the first step toward effectively understanding the importance of wound healing.