Early detection and care of wounds is essential to your health


BJC Wound Care Awareness Month June 2022

Nearly 7 million Americans are living with chronic wounds, but early detection and care can make a big difference.

A chronic, or nonhealing, wound is one that has failed to progress through the phases of healing in four weeks. However, it’s a good idea to see your primary care or wound care doctor if after two weeks you notice:

  • Your wound is not scabbing over

  • Your wound is scabbing over, but the scab turns mushy when wet

  • You’re increasingly in pain 

  • There’s drainage coming from your wound

The longer a chronic wound goes without proper treatment, the greater the chance of infection, hospitalization or even amputation.

Nonhealing wounds can stem from minor common occurrences like blisters, bug bites, cuts or scratches, or they can be a result of a chronic health condition. Most wounds — whether from trauma, infection, hospitalization, diabetes, poor circulation, immobility, surgery or other underlying health issues — heal with proper treatment; however, there are risks factors in our lives that can delay or stop the healing process. These risk factors include advanced age, excess body weight, chronic illness, poor nutrition and unhealthy habits. Conditions like diabetes, peripheral artery disease and heart disease can also increase the risk of having a chronic wound.

If you do develop a nonhealing wound, it’s important to remember that in many instances, chronic wounds occur because of uncontrollable factors, but you do not have to live with this condition. Wounds that fail to heal can diminish a person’s quality of life and lead to other medical problems. The wound centers at many of our BJC hospitals offer comprehensive treatment options for wounds, including special dressings, wraps and casting, hyperbaric treatments and help with managing diabetes or circulation problems, so you can get back to enjoying life. The centers focus on rapid healing while addressing the underlying causes of chronic and hard-to-heal wounds, an approach focused on improving quality of life, with reduced pain.

The Wound Centers at our hospitals treat several non-healing and chronic wound conditions, including:
  • Surgical wounds

  • Osteomyelitis (bone infections) with an open wound

  • Arterial and venous ulcers

  • Diabetic foot ulcers and diabetic wounds

  • Pressure ulcers (bed sores)

  • Traumatic wounds

  • Burns

  • Radiation damage

  • Skin tears and lacerations

  • Infected wounds


By following these simple steps, you can reduce your risk and help prevent wounds:

1. Adopt healthy habits.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your doctor what’s right for you.

  • Eat well and, if you have diabetes, manage your blood sugar.

  • Exercise every day. Walking and chair-based exercises improve circulation.

  • If you smoke, stop smoking. Smoking prevents healing. Call your doctor if you need help or resources to stop smoking.

2. If you have underlying conditions, make foot care a part of your daily routine to check for wounds and help prevent them.
  • Inspect your feet daily and never go barefoot.

  • Keep toenails clean.

  • Always wear supportive socks and shoes.

  • See a medical professional for regular foot care.

3. Stay vigilant.
  • Change position every 15 minutes when seated. If you have limited mobility, ask your caregiver to help you move every two hours.

  • Avoid sitting with crossed legs to reduce pressure on blood vessels because this can limit circulation.

  • Check for potential problem areas or pressure injuries every day, in addition to looking for wounds including blisters, bug bites, cuts and scratches.

  • Recognize and respond to any pain and discomfort from existing wounds.

  • Seek professional treatment to ensure proper healing.

4. If you have a condition that makes you more prone to chronic wounds, take care of cuts and bug bites.
  • Clean the area.

  • Cover it with a bandage.

  • Avoid scratching mosquito bites. A hydrocortisone spray or calamine lotion can help take the itch out of bug bites.

  • Check the affected area once a day to make sure it’s showing signs of healing. 


Information provided by Healogics Inc., a leader in wound care for more than 20 years. Select wound care centers at BJC HealthCare hospitals are managed by Healogics.

BJC HealthCare offers multiple wound care centers throughout the St. Louis area, including eastern Missouri and southern Illinois, as well as in Sullivan and Farmington, Missouri.

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