Norman Regional Health System

Woman bandaging a wound on her knee.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The skin is the largest organ of the body and provides each of us with a protective barrier. A wound is a breakdown in the protective function of the skin. It is important when you do have a wound that you take care of it properly. Wound healing is a complex process and there are many things you can do to help (or hurt) your healing.

Here are eight tips to help with healing:

1. Don’t get your wound wet in the bath or shower.

This keeps the wound too wet and can spread bacteria from other parts of your body into the wound. You can keep your wound dry by using a cast/wound protector or using Press-N-Seal plastic wrap to cover the wound area then tape a kitchen trash bag over the wound/dressing. If your wound can’t be protected, a sponge bath is recommended.

2. Don’t clean your wound with soap or chemicals.

Don’t use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or plain soap on your wound. They can be harmful to healing skin and can slow the healing process. Instead, only clean your wound with salt water, sterile water or distilled water.

3. Get off your wound.

Pressure on your wound will slow healing. Limit the time you’re on your wound as much as you can. Depending on where your wound is, you may need special shoes, crutches, walker, cushion, etc. 

4. Stop smoking.

Smoking will significantly slow the healing process of your wound. Every cigarette you smoke closes your blood vessels 40-45% for hours. If you smoke another cigarette during that time, the blood vessels clamp down another 40-45%. This starves the wound of oxygen and growth factors, carried in the blood, which are required for wound healing. Every cigarette you don’t smoke helps the healing process. Contact your primary care doctor if you need help quitting.

5. Control your blood sugar.

Check your glucose regularly. Every time your blood sugar is great than 140, it hurts your healing. Make sure to watch your diet and take your medication. If your glucose level is still too high, talk to your primary care doctor about how to get it under control.

6. Increase your protein intake.

Protein is what makes up growth factors that your body produces to heal itself. Eat three to four servings of protein each day. If your protein level is severely low, it will slow healing.

7. Do not leave your wound open.

Your wound doesn’t need to breathe! This will slow healing.

8. Talk to the experts.

For most people, wound care is pretty straightforward. Clean the wound at home, dress it with a bandage and allow it to heal naturally, but if you’ve been properly caring for your wound and haven’t seen any progress or are concerned it may be more serious than you thought, talk to the experts at Norman Regional’s Oklahoma Wound Center. No referral is required, unless your insurance requires one.


For more information or to make an appointment, call 405-307-6955.