When a Band-Aid is Not Enough

By: Al Murji, M.S., PA-C, Clinic Director

From time to time we suffer minor wounds—be it small cuts and bruises as well as small 1st and 2nd degree burns. As such, we have all performed our own wound care and have used a myriad of self-treatment methods. Some of these home remedies include: Band-Aids, gauze, toothpaste for burns and even honey on cuts.

Most of the time, our wounds heal in a week or two and we don’t give it any further thought. These scenarios occur with people who have normal functioning bodies and immune systems with normal functioning wound healing factors.

However, there are a lot of situations in which people’s bodies are not responding like they should. You could have a wound that is not healing in a timely manner (greater than 2 weeks) or may have a wound infection. More seriously, you might be diabetic and already at risk for poor wound healing. This can cause you to not feel the nail you stepped on, or to not be aware you are developing a foot wound from the time you tried to cut your toenails.

There are many symptoms that indicate you need to be seen for Wound Care. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased redness or swelling around the wound
  • Red streaks moving away from the wound
  • Unable to move joints or other body parts due to swelling or infection
  • Discoloration or black, dead skin in or around the wound
  • Foul odor coming from wound
  • Development of a fever, nausea, vomiting and/or chills
  • Exaggerated pain at the wound site that seems inappropriate given the wound

Especially in today’s world where we have antibiotic resistant bacteria, stubborn fungal and viral infections, as well as people who suffer from neuropathy (damage to nerves affecting sensations), we are seeing more wounds that just don’t or can’t heal. It is very important for people who suffer from a disease that impairs their immune system, diabetics who have poorly controlled blood sugars, and people who have some sort of neuropathy to be extra vigilant with wounds.

Often I have had patients who have come to our clinic with these horrendous wounds and they report that they were just small minor wounds to start with and all of a sudden–almost overnight–these wounds became major.

Not treating these small wounds with care, or not checking regularly for calluses (especially having someone checking your feet regularly if you are a diabetic) can lead to serious wound complications and in extreme cases the need for IV antibiotics, hospitalization, surgery, organ damage/failure, amputation, and even death!

If your wounds are not getting better or appear to be getting worse, come see the experts at R3 Wound Care & Hyperbarics. We will work diligently to get you properly healed!