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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 wound is one that has failed to progress through the phases of healing in an orderly and timely fashion. The longer a chronic or non-healing wound goes without proper treatment, the greater the chance of infection, hospitalization or even amputation.

Non-healing 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 non-healing 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.

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 so that 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

Prevention is key

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

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.

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.

Stay vigilant

  • Change position every 15 minutes when seated. If you have limited mobility, have your caregiver 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.

* 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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