EWMA Conference 2018

Lifestyle and prevention

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There are many different risk factors and lifestyle choices which may influence the development of and healing of chronic wounds. In this section we list some of the primary risk and lifestyle factors which you should pay attention to.

 

  • What food would help my wound to heal?

A well balanced diet is essential for keeping your skin healthy and assist in the wound healing process. Your diet should include (in particular) the following: Vitamins A, B, C & E, iron and zinc, proteins and carbohydrates.

 

  • Can food/nutritional supplement help my wound to heal?

Yes, there is clear evidence in the professional literature indicating that the use of supplements incorporating protein, iron, zinc and vitamin C will enhance both a patient’s cognitive (mental) status as well as his/her wound healing potential. This is especially important for those over 70 years of age.

 

  • Should I expose my wound to air?

No. There is clear evidence that covering wounds up with an appropriate dressing product will enhance the wound healing potential by helping to create the ‘ideal’ wound healing environment. Exposing a wound to the open air will both reduce the temperature of the wound surface and dry out the wound. Neither of these help healing.

An appropriate dressing is one that helps to create an ideal wound healing environment  (warm and moist) maintaining a constant temperature (around 37oC) at the wound surface and keeping the wound moist but not soggy. However,  in some specific cases your clinician may advise to keep the wound open or choose a different treatment option.

 

  • Does smoking influence my wound healing?

Yes. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen arriving at the wound. In addition any scar tissue laid down when the wound heals will be of poorer quality. If you need further information, ask your clinician for advice.

 

  • I have a wound. Do I need to alter my alcohol consumption/will it influence my wound healing?

Alcohol consumption should always be in moderation as the excess consumption of alcohol will adversely delay the wound healing process. If you need further information, ask your clinician for advice.

 

  • Are there other options to bandages? I would like to wear my own shoes.

Your clinician can advise you about the variety of materials that can be used to enable you to wear your own shoes. If you have a venous leg ulcer, you will need bandages to heal it, but you can use stockings afterwards that will enable you to wear your own shoes. 

 

  • My wound has closed. What precautions should I take?

Your wound is closed on the outside, but it may take months before the inside is completely healed. Hydrate your skin so your skin stays moist and smooth. If your clinician prescribed preventive interventions like special stockings, please follow these instructions.  If in doubt, ask your clinician for further advice.  

 

  • I have a wound, can I take a shower?

It will differ, depending on the type of wound, so you need to discuss this with your clinician. There are waterproof dressings available on the market. 

 

  • Are there any special hygiene precautions I should be aware of?

If you or your caregiver is changing your wound dressing, good hand hygiene, including the use of alcohol-based hand rubs and handwashing with soap and water is critical to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria. If in doubt or for further special hygiene precautions, ask your clinician for further advice.

 

  • Does my body weight influence my wound healing?

Yes, your body weight can influence the healing of your wound. Significant weight loss or weight gain, as well as inadequate intake of proteins, fluids, energy and vitamins do influence the process of wound healing. For further advice, ask your clinician.

 

  • Can I go swimming when I have a wound ?

It will differ, depending on the type of wound, so you need to discuss this with your clinician. There are waterproof dressings available on the market.

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