When you get injured, you often experience more than just a sudden jolt of pain. Shortly after falling or scraping your knee on something jagged, you may notice something: a wound taking shape. Some wounds may bleed, while others are little more than unpleasant blemishes.

In any case, wounds are a form of damage to your skin and leave your body susceptible to infections Wounds can range from a papercut to post-surgery stitches, and every kind of wound heals differently—you can’t just slap a band-aid on everything! Here is what you need to know while your wounds are healing.

The Good Signs

The healing process is relatively straightforward. When someone gets cut or injured, the severity of the wound will usually determine how well it heals and how long that healing takes. A wound that is healing properly tends to swell for the first few days and then begins to scab over. Scabbing is an essential part of the healing process; it involves platelets coagulating to block the wound’s entrance, keeping it from bleeding further.

As the scab develops, new tissue will fill in underneath the scab. The scab will eventually fall off to reveal fresh, new skin underneath. After the scab disappears, the fresh tissue, often called scar tissue, will be softer and paler than the rest of your skin. This is good! That means you’re recovering! Scars may take a while to heal, but over time, they will disappear as well.

Signs Your Wounds Aren’t Healing

Sometimes, other factors play into how your wound heals, and if this isn’t the first time a wound has healed improperly, it is still important to contact your primary care physician. Usually, if a wound isn’t healing, there is something wrong. Some signs that a wound isn’t healing properly include:

  • Scabs do not form after a while
  • Increased pain and swelling, or no change in pain or swelling for days
  • Prolonged fever
  • Thick, yellow discharge coming out of the wound
  • No change after the projected recovery date

The best thing to do in any of these scenarios is to contact your primary care physician immediately. From there, they can determine if the wound is infected or other complications have arisen.

Infection

When a wound gets infected, that means that the healing process has been interrupted by foreign germs and bacteria entering through the wound. Not only can infections keep the wound from healing, they can make a person seriously ill. A person showing signs of infection should seek medical attention right away.

Typically, doctors prescribe antibiotics to help get rid of the infections so the wound can heal. These prescriptions could be taken in pill form or applied directly to the wound via a topical cream. Regardless, always follow the prescription instructions to get the best possible results.

To determine if your wound is infected, you can check for thick, white or yellow discharge coming from the wounded area. This is a surefire sign of infection. Other signs include:

  • The wounded area feels warm to the touch and swells further
  • The wounded area is discolored
  • Pain does not subside or gets worse over time

Infections can lead to fevers, illness, and even death, which is why treating your wounds properly is best.

What Can Help?

Wound treatments vary depending on the type of wound you are treating. When you are first wounded, cleaning the affected area and dressing it comes into play. Cleansers can be sprayed or dabbed onto the wound to remove bacteria, then the wounds can be dressed. Wound dressings come in many shapes and sizes. Some dressings are made of foam, others are adhesive, and some still are merely cloth or gauze.

These dressings can be both medicated and non-medicated; ask your doctor which one is more suitable for you. Sometimes, you will also need to buy medical tape to keep the dressings in place.

As your wound heals, you may need to change dressings, reapply ointments, or clean the wound again. This is also normal. To keep things on track, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. To browse wound care products, visit Medical Supply Depot.

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