You've likely suffered a cut or scrape at some point. These wounds heal quickly and don't usually become infected or problematic. But if you have a more significant wound from a procedure or an injury, proper care is essential to avoid complications.
When you have an open wound that's not healing correctly, our Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute team has the tools to help. Our two heart and vascular care specialists, Dr. Hesham Fakhri and Dr. Abdulghani Saadi, are experts in treating open wounds, no matter the cause.
Why is wound care essential?
An open wound isn't something you expect to have, but you must take care of it. An open wound can severely affect your overall health and wellness.
You can suffer an open wound for various reasons, including a surgical procedure, an accident, or an injury. The main types of open wounds include:
Chronic wounds or ulcers are open wounds that don't heal correctly. You may have this type of wound if you have diabetes or a condition that affects your body's ability to heal.
Wound care helps prevent issues around your open wound at home. Keeping the area clean is vital for keeping your skin and body healthy and allowing the wound to close appropriately.
Complications of open wounds
Open wounds need immediate care, as they're a portal for bacteria and other organisms to enter your body. Minor cuts and lacerations generally heal quickly but require home care to prevent complications.
Not taking care of your wound early on can result in severe problems, some of which include:
An infection is one of the most significant risks in an open wound. If you don't care for your wound properly, bacteria enter your body and can cause a fever, purulent drainage, and redness or pain.
A staph infection is a severe type of infection that, when left untreated, can affect your overall health and multiple organs.
Also known as lockjaw, tetanus is a disease you can get from a puncture wound. The bacteria enters through an open wound and leads to spasms in your jaw and neck.
Tetanus isn't common in the United States, because vaccines have nearly eradicated this condition.
Although not typical, necrotizing fasciitis is a potentially life-threatening infection that eats away at your soft tissues. When bacteria enter an open wound, they quickly affect your soft tissues.
You need immediate treatment if you have necrotizing fasciitis because it very quickly develops into sepsis and organ failure without treatment. Symptoms of this condition often mimic the flu and pain around the open wound.
Chronic wounds either take an extended period to heal or continue to reopen after partial healing. Diabetes and cancer are two leading causes of chronic wounds. Still, you can also get them with a weakened immune system or a chronic infection.
How to care for your wounds at home
If you have an open wound, the best thing you can do is consult our team as soon as possible. Dr. Fakhri and Dr. Saadi are wound care specialists who provide you with the treatment and home care tips you need to allow your wound to heal.
Some of the best ways you can care for your open wound at home include:
- Cleaning the wound daily
- Keeping the wound dry
- Watching for signs of infection
- Keeping the wound covered
- Changing the dressing daily
- Applying petroleum jelly or a topical antibiotic
- Wearing compression garments to control swelling
- Applying ice on a fresh wound to control inflammation
- Following your wound care instructions
Even with the best wound care, problems may arise. If your wound doesn't seem to be healing or you notice redness, swelling, or pus draining from the site, contact our team immediately for the appropriate treatment.
If you're struggling to care for your wounds, don't hesitate to call one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, today. You can also schedule an appointment online.