What can support wound healing?
The adequate treatment of wounds depends on the type of injury. Abrasions occur quite frequently and heal very fast. Usually, it is not necessary to consult a doctor. The same applies to small cuts and stabs, which can be self-treated after careful, disinfectant cleaning. As long as wounds are still bleeding, protecting them with a plaster is advisable. Afterwards, they can be left uncovered to heal. In order to support wound healing, it is normally sufficient to apply wound care and healing ointments. Redness around the margins of a wound is perfectly normal and caused by new blood vessels which are forming there. Should the reddened skin start to swell or become significantly warmer or painful, this could be a sign of inflammation. In this case, it is advisable to consult a doctor. A doctor should always be consulted in the event of larger lacerations, stabs or bites. The latter, in particular, requires adequate treatment because of a high risk of infection. The following applies to all types of wounds: The faster the wound is treated, the faster it heals and the lower the risk of infection. Besides proper wound management, a healthy diet plays a crucial role as well. A healthy diet provides the body with the nutrients and energy that is necessary to produce new cells which in turn contributes to accelerated wound healing. Particularly beneficial is a balanced diet rich in vitamins and the consumption of foods containing animal protein. Zinc intake and sufficient fluid intake are important factors for wound healing, too.
Poor wound healing
As a biological process, wound healing usually is not a problem. However, it can be impaired. A common reason for impaired wound healing is an infection of the wound caused by germs or other impurities which affect the natural wound closure process. Malnutrition, for example, hinders wound closure. Delayed healing may also occur to patients suffering from diabetes, circulatory problems, cancer or immunodeficiency. Chronic wounds which take a very long time to heal or do not heal at all are special cases. If a wound has not healed in a maximum period of 6 weeks, consulting a doctor is imperative to quickly and adequately identify the cause. The question of whether wounds should be kept dry or moist is frequently discussed. The answer largely depends on the type and size of the wound. Wounds that heal poorly must be kept moist and warm in order to promote wound healing. Specific wound dressings such as polyfoam – also known as urethane foam or PU foam – create such a climate. Modern wound management products allow for fast healing because they bind and enclose cells and germs so they can no longer impair wound healing.
The wound healing process
Wound healing is a natural process during which a wound is closed through restoration of the injured body tissue. Wound healing takes place in three stages:
- The cleansing or exudation phase starts in the moment of injury. Impurities and bacteria are washed out. Blood vessels are constricted in order to stop the bleeding. At the same time, the coagulation system is activated.
- In the granulation or proliferation phase, new granulation tissue is formed. This means that deep wounds are filled from the inside and new tissue can form.
- The fibrous scar tissue is formed during the epithelization or regeneration phase. The process starts at the wound margins and new cells move into the center of the wound until it is fully closed.
A further distinction is made between primary and secondary wound healing. In the event of primary wound healing, the wound heals quickly because the margins of the wound are very close to each other. In the event of secondary wound healing, the wound is often infected and the wound margins are far apart so that the healing process takes a longer period of time. Regardless of the wound healing phase, the process can always be supported by therapeutic measures. Modern wound management products are available for each stage and for all different types of wounds. This way, wound healing is supported and accelerated.