Summer is here! People with healing wounds, however, may not be as excited about the hot weather. But, understanding the main wound healing challenges during this season can give you a head start on mitigating any possible difficulties. Staying focused on preventing the spread of germs, caring for your wound’s surface, and staying in good health will keep you on track through each stage of wound healing in warm weather.
Whether you’ve developed a diabetic foot ulcer or are recovering from surgery, high temperatures, social activities and busy schedules can present difficult conditions for healing. These simple tips may help:
Minimizing Germ Contact Any breakage in your skin can allow germs in the environment to work their way into your system. Protect yourself against bacteria in your wound by avoiding coming into contact with high-risk surfaces and substances. For example, while dealing with an open wound, completely avoid swimming in open bodies of water, especially stagnant lakes and streams possibly contaminated with various types of waste. If you are at high risk for developing diabetic foot ulcers, do not wear open-toed shoes like flip flops as they increase your risk for ulceration and/or infections.
Maintaining Clean Bandages You may enjoy the outdoors and being active during the summer months. Bandages can quickly become soiled with sweat and dirt, which can then potentially contaminate your wound. To facilitate healing, you must keep your wound dressings clean and dry at all times.
Stay Adequately Hydrated Without proper hydration, cells in your body cannot make the full journey through your wound site to repair and rebuild tissue. In normal conditions, your body requires about 64 ounces of fluid per day. On hot days, or while healing from stubborn wounds, you may need to consume even more liquid to avoid becoming dehydrated. The majority of your fluid intake should come from water and other healthy beverages, but can also come from moisture-rich fruits and vegetables.
Maintain Proper Nutrition Fruits and vegetables can also assist your body in healing acute and chronic wounds. Vitamins and minerals in certain foods give your immune system the boost it needs to quickly heal damage to your skin and other tissues. Add watermelon, grapefruit, cabbage and mushrooms to your diet to help jumpstart the immune process required for proper wound healing.
Apply Sunscreen When going out in the sun, whether it’s for a few minutes or a long afternoon, make sure to apply sunscreen to your body and keep wounds bandaged to protect yourself from damaging UV rays. Use sunscreen of SPF 35 or higher on healed wound surfaces. This can help to minimize scarring, as the wound tissue is more fragile and sensitive to than normal skin.
By paying close attention to these added challenges during the summer, you can keep the healing process on track while caring for most serious wounds. If you find that your wounds are slow to heal or growing worse, visit a wound care specialist immediately for advanced care options.
John Kramer, DPM, is program manager of the hyperbaric unit at the Center for Wound Healing at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center – Perth Amboy. The center provides advanced surgical and non-surgical care to heal wounds that resist conventional therapy. Wounds are treated through a variety of techniques, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which can greatly improve healing and reduce healing time for many patients. If you have a wound that won’t heal, call 732-324-3152.
With locations in Perth Amboy and Old Bridge, New Jersey, Raritan Bay Medical Center delivers critical world-class healthcare services care to Monmouth and Middlesex County residents. As providers of first-class healthcare in the areas of stroke, cardiology, cancer, physical rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, pediatric medicine, Raritan Bay Medical Center continues to stay on the forefront of medicine.
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