Whether it’s a small cut or light nick, all of us experience fairly regular, minor wounds from time to time. On some occasions, we’re able to treat these wounds from home by following a few simple instructions and using things like hydrogen peroxide, petroleum jelly, or soap and water.
For some people, however, wounds can become far more serious medical concerns and develop painful side effects. It’s integral that such vulnerable people receive effective wound care as quickly as possible.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many things to close, MCR Health’s wound Care services remain open to service our community. But how can patients determine when to visit a wound care facility?
In this article, we will discuss some of these vulnerable patients whose wounds must be treated with a higher level of caution than the general public may treat common wounds.
For patients with diabetes, lower extremity wounds can become very serious very quickly. This is because, as Healthline advises, their wounds are slow to heal.
The reason their wounds are so serious is because diabetic patients experience limited blood flow to their legs. Since diabetes compromises their immune systems, many diabetic patients cannot even feel these lower extremity wounds, which means no effort is made to made to clean the wound. No treatment is received for faster healing, and the wound may only be noticed at the signs of infection.
This is the reason why a diabetic patient who doesn’t receive early treatment stands at a higher risk. It raises the risks of infection, hospitalization, and/or amputation.
Experts recommended that diabetic patients seek immediate treatment when signs of lower extremity wounds appear.
PATIENTS WITH ACUTE WOUNDS THAT WON’T HEAL
Acute wounds are basically minor wounds, cuts, or scrapes to the skin that happen suddenly. In other words, acute wounds do not develop gradually.
Although these sorts of wounds are not always cause for concern, they can often become serious. The principal indication that something isn’t right is that the acute wound will not heal.
When an acute wound doesn’t heal in a normal time frame (of about three to four weeks), patients should seek direct treatment from a wound care facility.
PATIENTS WITH PRESSURE ULCERS
Pressure ulcers—also called “bed sores” and “pressure sores”—can become critical issues if not properly treated.
Wounds of this sort typically develop when pressure is sustained on a particular, localized area for a prolonged period of time. They occur regularly when patients are wheelchair users, bedridden, or quite simply immobile.
Commonly the treatment that most benefits these individuals is education for the future and specialized intervention from Wound Care facilities. Experts strongly recommended that patients seek professional treatment at the first sign of a pressure ulcer.
As Gregg Balbera notes at Right at Home, patients suffering from immunodeficiencies also stand at an exponentially higher risk of serious complications when they develop wounds.
Immunodeficiencies may stem from any number of medical issues, such as AIDS (aka acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome) or HIV (aka human immunodeficiency virus).
The reason immunodeficient patients stand at a higher risk is because when the immune system isn’t functioning optimally, the wound healing process itself is delayed. When weakened in this way, the immune system may not be able to effectively prevent infection.
Because newborn patients are already so naturally fragile, they can be exceptionally vulnerable to the slightest wounds.
Additionally, when babies are born prematurely, the risk is even higher since their skin is incredibly delicate. Something as minor as a bandage can tear the top layer of their skin, and a normal thermal light can even burn it.
Although in some cases, their wounds can be treated at home, for the most part, it’s recommended that newborns receive immediate professional treatment for their wounds.
For many geriatric patients, the aging body creates the perfect storm for wound complications.
As we grow older, our skin begins to thin, and our blood vessels lose their durability, progressively weakening over time. This alone means that if an older adult is wounded, the recovery process will take much longer than it would for a young adult.
In addition to experiencing the natural consequences of aging, oftentimes geriatric patients also suffer from severely reduced mobility. This may be from a lack of activities or a physical impairment. Either way, as a repercussion of their immobility, elderly patients frequently develop pressure ulcers too.
If that weren’t enough, older patients are also more vulnerable to venous and arterial insufficiencies. Because of all these factors coupled together, elderly patients should treat wounds with extreme caution. To be on the safe side, these patients should seek medical attention from a wound care specialist, so their wounds don’t worsen.
DON’T RISK IT
MCR Health recommends that some minor cuts and scrapes can often be treated at home with little more than soap and water and topical antibiotics. However, many different types of people stand at a higher risk for serious complications. This is why, to prevent deleterious consequences, it’s best not to treat wounds lightly.
If you fall under any of the above categories, don’t put your health on hold. Take action. Our Wound Care facilities are still open, serving this community with quality care.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment online or call 941-776-4000.