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To quickly heal a wound, in addition to being careful with the dressing, it is also important to eat he althy and avoid other harmful lifestyle habits, such as smoking, drinking alcohol or having a sedentary lifestyle.
This is mainly because circulation is impaired and therefore there is not enough blood reaching the wound to allow adequate healing, delaying wound healing. However, it is always important to keep the wound clean to avoid an infection that, in addition to delaying healing, can also harm your he alth in general.
So, some steps that ensure faster healing and avoid the appearance of ugly scars and other complications are:
1. Wash the wound and bandage it
In simple wounds, such as a cut or scrape, the first step should be to wash the wound and the skin around it to remove as much bacteria and viruses as possible, preventing the development of an infection. This washing can be done with saline solution, but also with water and neutral pH soap.
As for surgical wounds or those that are more severe and exposed, although washing is also indicated, it should usually be done with saline solution and sterilized material and, therefore, it is very important to go to the hospital. However, if the wound is very dirty, you can use a little saline solution to remove the dirt before going to the hospital.
Watch the following video and find out which is the best product to clean wounds:
Then, a dressing must be applied, at least during the first 24 hours, while the crust has not yet formed, in order to prevent the entry of bacteria into the wound environment. Here's how to properly bandage it.
2. Apply heat to the wound for 15 minutes
Applying a warm compress to the dressing or wound for 15 minutes helps to increase blood flow to the area, increasing the amount of nutrients and cells in the area, accelerating healing. This technique can be done 2 to 3 times a day, but it should only be done after the crust has formed.
If the area becomes very swollen or causes pain, remove the compress and avoid applying heat during that day, or apply the compress for a shorter time.
3. Keeping the wound elevated
When the wound site is swollen for more than 2 days, it is important to try to elevate the wound, to reduce fluid accumulation and facilitate blood circulation. This type of swelling is more common in people who have heart or circulation problems and usually appears in leg sores. Thus, it is important to place the legs about 20 cm above the level of the heart at least 3 times a day or whenever possible.
4. Eat omega 3 and vitamins A, C and E
Foods rich in omega 3, such as salmon, tuna or chia seeds, as well as those rich in vitamins A, C and E, such as oranges, mangoes, tomatoes or peanuts, are a great way to strengthen the body and stimulate the formation of tissue that closes the wounds and helps in the creation of a new layer of skin.
In this way, having a diet richer in this type of food and avoiding others that make healing difficult, such as sugar, soft drinks, chocolate milk or fatty pork, for example, is an excellent way to ensure faster wound healing. Check out a more complete list of healing foods and foods you shouldn't eat.
5. Apply a healing ointment
Healing ointments are also a good option to accelerate healing, as they provide important nutrients for the regeneration of the new layer of skin, in addition to reducing inflammation that makes healing difficult.
However, they should only be used about 3 to 5 days after the appearance of the wound and with the guidance of a doctor or nurse, as some ointments may contain antibiotics, without being necessary for the treatment of the wound. See the list of the best healing ointments.
How healing happens
Healing is a repair process that can be divided into 3 main phases:
- Inflammatory phase: lasts between 1 to 4 days and begins with constriction of blood vessels to prevent bleeding. But then, this phase evolves into the dilation of the vessels, so that the blood arrives at the site with all the cells necessary for healing, generating symptoms such as swelling, redness and pain;
- Proliferative phase: lasts between 5 and 20 days and, in this phase, the formation of collagen and other fibers that help to close the wound begins;
- Maturation phase: this is the longest phase that can last from 1 month to several years, in which the body continues to produce collagen and correct the balance of wounds in the scar, which allows it to decrease over time.
When any of these phases does not happen, either due to lack of blood in the region or an infection, healing is compromised and a chronic wound can arise, as in the case of the diabetic foot, in which the wound needs to be treated by a nurse for several months or even years.
Alarm signs to go to the doctor
Although most wounds heal without any complications, there is always the chance of having an infection at the site, for example. Thus, it is important to go to the hospital if signs such as:
- Intense swelling that does not improve after 3 days;
- Presence of pus in the wound;
- Excessive bleeding;
- Very intense pain;
- Difficulty moving the affected limb.
In addition, other symptoms such as persistent fever or excessive tiredness may also indicate that the wound is infected and therefore should also be evaluated.