Our bodies are supremely intelligent. They have the magical ability to heal themselves, mending bones and regenerating skin. If you have broken a bone, cut yourself, or had an infection, you have experienced this. However, germs and bacteria can occasionally stunt the healing process. If you are wondering how to tell if a wound is healing or infected, there are a few things to watch out for.
If you are concerned about a wound, do not worry. Consider these essential steps of the healing process.
Signs and Stages of Wound Healing
Wound healing is a dynamic process that a variety of factors can influence. Some factors include age, overall health, cause of injury, and environment. Understanding the stages of wound healing will aid you in optimizing the healing process and preventing complications.
To heal a wound, it is crucial to keep it clean and protected. Certain lifestyle choices will affect the healing stage as well. Consider adopting a healthy diet and avoiding smoking during this time. Moreover, you will want to avoid picking at the wound or exposing it to dirt and bacteria. These factors will slow the healing process.
There are a few healing signs that demonstrate your wound is recovering. Some include:
- Tissue growth
Additionally, keep in mind these stages of the wound healing process:
This is the first stage of wound healing. The body will work to stop bleeding and prevent further damage to the affected area.
To clear debris and bacteria, the body sends white blood cells to the wound. This stage involves some redness, warmth, swelling, and occasionally pain. It can last several days to a week.
New tissue begins to form, and the wound starts to close. This new tissue is called granulation tissue and comprises new blood vessels, connective tissue, and collagen. This stage lasts several days to weeks.
The new tissue continues to mature and strengthen, and the wound begins to heal from the bottom up. This stage can take several weeks to months.
Lastly, the wound continues to heal, and the tissue continues to mature. This final process is slower because your body is restoring the strength and function of the tissue.
Infections and Their Effect on Wound Healing
Though our bodies have incredible potential for wound healing capabilities, sometimes infections can disrupt the process. It is vital to seek medical attention if your wound has become infected. This will prevent further complications from forming. You may be prescribed topical wound care products like antiseptics or ointments to assist in the healing process.
Paying attention to the following signs is essential to determine if your wound is healing correctly.
A fresh wound will have a red appearance, which is normal. It means blood is being sent to the area to supply oxygen and nutrients. However, if redness persists or spreads, it could signify that your wound is infected. As wounds heal, the redness should fade.
Pain or Fever
Wounds can be painful, and this is very normal. However, as the healing process continues, the pain should lessen. If your pain is severe over an extended period, this could indicate an infection.
Additionally, if you have a fever, it could signify that an infection has entered your bloodstream and is spreading.
In the beginning stages of healing, your wound will feel warm. This is because the white blood cells are fighting bacteria. If your injury feels warm after five days or a week, it could indicate that your body is trying to keep the infection away.
Size and Shape
The edges of your wound should begin melding together, and the injury should start shrinking in size. If the wound begins to get larger or deeper, this could mean you have an infection.
Swelling is a standard part of the healing process. However, excessive swelling is not. If your wound continues to swell, this is a sign of an infection.
Discharge of pus and blood is also a normal part of the process. Normal drainage is clear or yellow and signifies that your body is removing excess debris from the wound. If your drainage is cloudy, has a strong scent, or is tinged with red, this may indicate infection.
Next Steps for Wound Care
All in all, wound healing is an intricate process that is impacted by a variety of factors. Instead of focusing on how to heal wounds faster, you will want to focus on tending to your wounds with care and attention. If you have concerns about your injury and are looking for expert medical advice, look no further.
Here at BASS Medical Group, we will tend to your wound and create a plan to optimize the healing process. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!