Chronic ailments are the subject of many wound care myths.

Cathy MacLean has been a family physician in Canada for 20-plus years. In a 2010 editorial in the journal Canadian Family Physician, she explained that one of the most important parts of her job is patient education. She routinely asks patients just how much they know about a diagnosis or medical condition. While most patients are knowledgeable, she pointed to a patient who believed that hypertension was his “per-tension levels [were] too high” as proof of just how important patient education is.

If you’d like to do your part to avoid similar issues, read through the following guide on the myths and misnomers from the wound care industry:

1. All wounds will eventually heal on their own

Tell that to the nearly 6 million Americans who live with chronic wounds, according to Medscape. There are a variety of reasons why wounds won’t heal, including infections, poor circulation and fluid buildup. Leaving a wound alone to heal might actually worsen your condition, resulting in infections, amputation and, in some cases, even death. The general rule for chronic wounds is that if it hasn’t healed in six to eight weeks, it’s time to seek treatment.

2. Pressure ulcers are the only kind of chronic wound

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that there were 257,412 hospitalizations due to secondary pressure ulcers in 2003 alone. And while those figures have risen rather steadily over the last 15 or so years, Health-First explained that there are far more causes for chronic wounds. That list includes diabetes – usually non-healing foot sores – peripheral neuropathy, certain vascular disorders, arterial occlusive disease, osteomyelitis (an infection of the bones) and radiation. Even bug bites can become chronic if left untreated.

3. Bleeding in a chronic wound is a positive sign

As the Future of Health Care pointed out, some people with chronic wounds might see bleeding and think the wound is healing. However, bleeding can often be a sign that something else entirely has happened, and the wound may be getting worse. However, as McKnight’s explained, bleeding can actually be a secondary sign of infection. Specifically, a wound is likely to be infected if it has high friability, or it bleeds with little cause or external influence. If your wound does begin to bleed, it’s important to seek medical help fairly quickly.

For even more busted wound care myths, read articles on the actual number of dressing types and how not to minimize the look of scars.
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