A wound is never an easy thing to deal with. Pain aside, you have to worry about cleaning it, caring for it, finding a bandage for it, and maybe even trying to stave off your overprotective or particularly nosy friends, neighbors, or companions.
Now imagine that, but over the course of several months. Chronic wounds, as they are called, are not particularly fun to deal with, but are manageable with the right knowledge, the right care, and a whole lot of patience.
What are Chronic Wounds?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), Chronic wounds are described as wounds that take longer than eight weeks (up to three months) to heal. They’re also known for having abnormal healing cycles, sometimes staying in one stage for years at a time.
Chronic wounds can happen to anyone, and come in many different varieties, but people who suffer from autoimmune conditions or diabetes are the most susceptible.
Are there Complications?
Of course! As with any medical condition, there’s always the chance that something can go wrong, or you can have long-term effects.
Many sufferers deal with chronic pain, but the wound can also bleed, ooze pus or other fluids, or let out a foul odor. In particularly bad cases, wounds can become gangrenous, or the flesh around it can decompose at an alarming rate (in these cases, please consult a medical professional immediately).
How should you treat Chronic Wounds?
This will differ depending on the wound, and your medical professional will give you different instructions in each case.
However, there are some rules of thumb that apply no matter what kind of wound you have:
- Keep your wound clean. When you change your dressing, clean it with either tap water or a saline solution, depending on which you have handy. The important thing is to make sure that whatever you clean it with, it isn’t contaminated with blood or other outside contaminants.
- Use proper dressing. You can use different types of dressing for a chronic wound, whether it’s a moist compress, hydrogel dressing, or foam dressing. Just make sure that it’s approved by your doctor, sterile, fits the size / shape of the wound, and is applied properly.
- Try to keep from bumping the affected area into anything. Watch where you’re going and make sure not to do anything that can open it up further or make things worse. Be gentle with it.
What if my loved one has a Chronic Wound?
People with chronic wounds can sometimes need help taking care of them, so if you’re not too squeamish, offering to clean or wrap it would be a good thing to do.
If you’re the squeamish type, and you don’t want to go touching their wounds or sores, then offer them some emotional support. Dealing with chronic issues like these can be exhausting, especially if the patient already has a slew of other health problems, so having someone in their corner can make life a little easier.
They’re just trying to get through their day, but with someone by their side, it makes their burden that much lighter.
And in that way, everyone wins, right?