Learn to Judge the Seriousness of a Wound Before Seeking Treatment

By Daily Pilot

May 30, 2017

People ask me daily when they need to see a doctor for a wound, but the real question is how deep is the wound and how long ago did you receive it?

To understand how a wound is supposed to heal, search your knees. All evidence of the scrapes and scabs of childhood are likely long gone. That is because the human body is blessed with the incredible ability to heal damaged tissues.

Typically, if a wound does not respond to conventional treatment — such as direct pressure, elevation and sterile dressing — within 30 days, it’s time to seek expert care.

Non-healing wounds can cause serious infections, illness and loss of a limb. Individuals with risk factors, such as diabetes, blood-flow problems and immobility, have increased chances of developing chronic or nonhealing wounds.

If you are experiencing a diabetic foot ulcer, venous leg ulcer, a chronic wound from radiation therapy or a skin injury that won’t heal, don’t ignore it. Even seemingly small diabetic foot wounds, if unrecognized or undertreated, can rapidly progress and result in infection, amputation and loss of mobility. It is easier to heal you if you seek treatment right away.

Seeing a specialist trained in wound care is critical to healing properly. That is why, in partnership with the patient’s primary physician, we bring together physicians, nurses and physical therapists — all trained in advanced wound care — to specifically tailor a treatment plan for each patient’s unique needs.

Utilizing state-of-the-art treatment options, patients can undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a treatment that delivers a high concentration of oxygen to the bloodstream, which helps reduce swelling, fight infection and build new blood vessels, and ultimately produce healthy tissue.

Dr. Michael Hurwitz is medical director of the Hoag Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center.

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