Now that your wound has been disinfected and the bleeding stopped, what can you do to help the wound heal faster? Proper treatment and healing tips vary based on the severity of the wound type. Be sure to still seek a healthcare professional's advice for the best way to quickly heal your wound.
Light wounds can include minor abrasions, scrapes or light lacerations, such as paper cuts, a scraped knee or rug burns. Often times, these minor wounds heal spontaneously with no additional care, but these tips may speed up healing time.
- Apply aloe vera to the wound site. By keeping the wound area moisturized, less stress can be placed on the skin in that area to help it heal faster.
- Do not pick at scabs. It may be tempting, but do not pick at the scabs! Scabs are a sign of proper healing, and picking them can lead to undesired scarring and prolonged healing time.
- Take vitamin C and E supplements. Vitamin C can be helpful in boosting the immune system and protecting you from potential bacteria that may have infiltrated the wound. Vitamin E can help support dermis reconstruction and shorten healing time.
- Air it out when needed. Often times, light abrasions such as rug burns may ooze fluids in the process of healing. Rather than rigorously wiping it away, which can further irritate the wound, let it air dry by itself. However, if the wound is oozing blood or pus-like fluids, it is time to see a doctor for a possible infection.
Moderate To Severe Wounds
Moderate to severe wounds should immediately be seen and taken care of by a healthcare professional for proper disinfection and bleeding termination. Afterwards, these tips may be utilized at home, at the discretion of your doctor, to help shorten healing time.
- Keep it clean. Per instruction of your healthcare provider, be sure to keep the wound clean to ensure proper and speedy healing. If possible, change bandages daily to keep the area free of bacteria.
- Limit movement. The capillaries and connective tissues at the injured site need time to reconnect and heal. If the skin and tissues are constantly stretched and moved around, it will prolong healing time.
- Take the recommended medication. Sometimes, doctors may prescribe a course of antibiotics or vitamins to combat potential infection. It is important to finish the entire course of medication as instructed, as an infection will definitely slow down healing time.
- Have a balanced diet. Proper nutrition should be practiced at this time, as moderate to severe wounds may signify damage beyond the skin, into the muscles and surrounding tissue. Vitamins B, C, E, A, along with zinc and copper, which are all abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables, also play an important role in wound healing, so don't skip your salad like you usually do - eat it!
- Try to eat a high protein diet. Studies have shown that protein can help rebuild tissues, muscles, and may aid in the creation of collagen, which is an important component in providing skin elasticity. It can also strengthen the immune system as a part of a balanced diet.
- To avoid obvious scarring, you may want to consider investing in anti-scarring tape, which are available in most drugstores. These tapes may help ward off raised or pitted scarring that can be painful to the touch.
For major burns or chemical burns, it is best to seek emergency care immediately. The tips below are for minor burns that does not require professional care.
- Do not put butter on the location. Since minor burns often occur in the kitchen, the common myth of applying butter to the burn wound should be avoided. Butter can further inflame the burn and potentially cause an infection.
- Use light moisturizing lotions instead. In fact, it is better to keep the burn lightly moisturized with a natural ingredient, such as aloe, at all times to provide relief and help it heal faster.
- Do not pop blisters. It may be tempting, but popped blisters are an open invitation for bacteria to cause possible infections and slow the healing rate.
- If blisters pop spontaneously, be sure to wash the area with plain water and soap, and apply an antibiotic ointment and wrap with loose gauze.
- Use loose sterile gauze or cottoncloth to protect the burn, and do not place pressure on it. Do not use heavy towels or blankets.
As a general rule of thumb, if the wound site does not heal properly within a timely manner, be sure to see a doctor. If the wound site starts to have pus, become extremely inflamed, and is accompanied by a fever, be sure to seek emergency care immediately.