Winter Wound Safety – Wound Care Tips
Article originally featured on SCNow
We all know that scrapes, bumps and bruises are a part of life, but it’s not always easy for a person to judge the severity of a wound.
Often people wait until a minor problem has become a major one before seeking medical treatment. Below are types of wounds that might occur during these chilly winter months.
The biggest culprit of preventable wintertime wounds is heat. People trying to warm up during these cooler months can sometimes overlook the temperature of things like a warm bath, a space heater or a car’s foot warmer. Keep in mind that these things can cause serious burns if your feet have decreased feeling or nerve damage.
Always test bath water with your hand or ask for help to gauge the temperature before enjoying a soak or shower. Make sure to distance yourself from a space heater to prevent burns and blisters. Lastly, if you are enjoying a long car ride, give yourself a time limit with the foot warmer. We’ve seen several patients at the wound center who traveled for the holidays and were burned from something as innocent as a car ride. You may not realize how hot that foot warmer can be on your feet.
The colder weather typically brings with it dry skin. Dry skin causes fissures and cracks, which can develop into ulcers. This can be dangerous to your foot so make it a habit to moisturize regularly to keep your skin intact.
Continue monitoring your minor cuts or scrapes. Typically, they will heal without medical intervention in about a week or less. People with higher risk factors are more susceptible to infection. Higher risk factors include diabetes, arterial disease or venous disease among others. Seek medical attention for any wounds not healing properly or show signs of infection such as swelling, redness, odor or thick drainage.
As we enter the winter months and cases of COVID-19 increase, it’s more important than ever to monitor and treat your wounds. You can be assured we take precautions to keep our patients and staff safe. The average patient with a wound has three or four other chronic conditions. We want our patients healed as quickly as possible, and avoid this vulnerable population going to the Emergency Department or admitted to the hospital.
At the MUSC Florence Wound Center, we work closely with our patients to prevent wounds from getting worse and help them heal so they can get back to their lives. People with certain medical conditions like diabetes, nerve damage and vascular disease should pay close attention to wounds for signs of infection or failure to heal.