What are the best ways to heal a wound when one has diabetes, which could pose a greater risk of catching an infection and a weakened immune system?
Why Diabetic Wounds Can Cause Problems:
- Neuropathy (extra sugar in the bloodstream creating nerve damage) is one of the diabetes side effects. This leads to a person with diabetes not able to feel a cut or a blister on a foot, which may lead to risks as a patient may not be aware and thus not treat it.
- Weakened immune system.
- Poor circulation / narrow arteries makes it harder for blood to get to the wound. Blood flow promotes healing, so anything that blocks it can make wounds more likely to become infected.
Here are some tips to avoid injuries:
- Always wear socks and shoes to protect feet from injury.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to keep the sore germ-free.
- Avoid contact with anything that could cause injury or infection such as sharp objects.
- Be cautious in nail salons.
- Check the inside of their shoes for stones.
- Check your feet every single day, and wash them with mild soap and water.
- Cleanse the affected area with soap and water daily.
- Do not pick at loose skin, blisters, or cuts (see a doctor for treatment).
- Don’t trim toenails too short.
- Don’t try to remove calluses or warts. Have your podiatrist treat them.
- Dry your feet well.
- Keep pressure off the wound as it heals.
- Keep your feet from drying and cracking with regular applications of foot cream.
- Make sure you’re not stepping directly on your wound.
- Moisturize skin regularly, especially the hands and feet.
- Never walk barefoot, even inside your home, and wear good-fitting shoes. Protect your feet.
- Skin injuries generally heal within two weeks. Cuts may take up to three weeks to heal in people with diabetes.
- Take care of the wound immediately, before it can become infected.
- Treat the wound with an antibiotic ointment to help prevent the wound from infection.
- Use a wet pumice stone to keep any calluses under control. Use lotion immediately afterward.
How to Tell if a Wound is Infected:
- Drainage or a foul odor.
- Oozing or drainage.
- Red and swollen skin around the wound.
- Skin around wounded area is warmer than other parts of the body.
- Swelling or redness around a wound.
- Unpleasant odor.
- Warm skin around the area as compared to nearby skin or skin on the opposite extremity.
- You feel pain.
Here is a list of items you should have:
- 4×4 sterile gauze pads for covering wounds
- Antifungal cream if you have athlete’s foot or other fungal infection
- Lotion – Not necessarily prescription lotion, to keep your feet from drying and cracking.
- Non-stick gauze pads or pads to protect and cushion.
- Normal saline (available by prescription) or hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds
- The phone number for your local wound care center or doctor’s office
- Triple-antibiotic cream for dressing cuts or scrapes
Here are some other articles:
- Tips for Diabetes Wound Care from Everyday Health
- Diabetes: Treating Wounds and Injuries from Web MD
- Diabetes and Wounds: Caring for Sores from WebMD
- Diabetes Wound Care Checklist: What’s in Your First Aid Kit? From WebMD
- Diabetes And Wound Care from Strength for Caring
- Top Wound Care Tips for Diabetics from Osceola Regional Medical Center
- How Diabetes Affects Wound Healing from Wound Care Centers
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