Legions of kids grew up with the wisdom of allowing a skin injury to “dry out” so a scab could form. A common phrase was that the scab was “nature’s bandage.” If you were one of those kids, or you’ve been teaching your kids the same thing, it’s time for a better way to heal wounds more quickly and with less risk of infection and scarring.

Virginia Gay Hospital’s wound clinic is offering patients the opportunity to receive ongoing wound care without time-consuming travel. Serious wounds often require professional monitoring and frequent changes to the treatment plan as the injured area changes over time. Patients who have experienced treatment for serious wounds know about the weeks or months sometimes required for healing.

Virginia Gay Hospital nurse Melissa Sivola, RN, WCC, is a trained wound care provider. Here are some of her tips for better wound care.

A covered wound helps tissues stay at the moisture level and temperature of the surrounding healthy skin: the optimum environment for the enzymes and cell functions important in wound healing. It can take as many as four hours after changing a dressing for the wound to return to optimum conditions, and the delay slows wound healing.

Tissue cooling also leads to an increased risk of infection by causing constriction of the vascular network. Vascular constriction, whether from smoking, lymphedema, or cooling decreases the oxygen available for healing and fighting infection.

Volumes of research have shown that letting an injury develop a scab is not the best way to promote healing. The scab forms a barrier that slows the growth of healthy cells because the healthy cells have to work their way under the scab. Scabs are easily torn off, reinjuring the skin. Letting scabs form increases the risk of scarring, and a properly covered wound that’s kept moist and protected by a bandage is less prone to infection.

To learn more about proper wound care click here. Ask your provider for a referral to the Virginia Gay Hospital wound care clinic if you are in need of professional wound care but want to reduce travel or time away from work. Learn more about additional services available to Virginia Gay Hospital by visiting their website at www.myvgh.org.