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What to Do About a Wound That Won’t Heal

June 24, 2020
Maybe you burned your hand while making dinner or accidentally whacked your shin on the car door. In most cases, if you clean the injury and put on a Band-Aid, it will heal within a few days to a week. But in some cases, wounds don’t heal the way they should. That’s when Dr. Jennifer Heller, Medical Director at the Wound Center at GBMC and her team of specialists can help. Dr. Heller talked with Christian Schaffer of WMAR-TV’s Good Morning Maryland about how the Wound Center has been serving patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, what types of wounds she and her colleagues treat, and when a non-healing wound requires the care of a wound specialist.

“There are a variety of issues that can cause a wound not to heal properly,” she explained. “Being immunocompromised or having a condition like diabetes that interferes with effective wound healing are two common causes of non-healing wounds. We see patients with many different types of wounds caused by accidents, trauma, burns, surgery, and conditions like diabetes. The goal of our multidisciplinary team of specialists is to work together to heal these wounds.”

Dr. Heller explained how she and her team of podiatrists, infectious disease specialists, plastic surgeons, and vascular surgeons assess and treat wounds that won’t heal. She also shared some common wound care mistakes that you should avoid if you have an injury that breaks the skin. Her top tip—don’t use hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds. Plain soap and water are best. And while using an antibiotic cream or ointment can be helpful, don’t slather it on.

“It’s important to track the progress of your wound,” she added. “Look at it every day and check for signs of trouble such as the wound getting bigger, looking red or infected, or causing changes in the skin around the wound. If you’re not sure if you should be concerned, call us. It’s better to err on the side of caution.”
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