from Surgery Supplements

There are a variety of techniques to help wounds heal faster. The first step is to make sure the bleeding has stopped and the wound is clean.

Keep the wound moist – Scientific research has shown that a moist healing environment is beneficial for wound healing. Wounds heal 50% faster if kept moist (Winter, 1962). Moist wounds enhance the regrowth of new skin (epithelialisation). Other studies have shown that a moist wound prevents tissue dehydration and cell  death.The cells in an air-exposed wound will dry out and die. This dead tissue, often mixed with gauze pad fibers will lead to more wound pain, chance of infections and as a result scarring. Why covering wounds?Necrotic tissue and slough in a wound prevent healing. An epitheliasing wound is a wound that is forming a film of new cells. (the beginning of a crust) When a wound is left uncovered this new epithelium dries out and forms a scab or a crust. This is not desirable because crusting slows down wound healing and is a major factor in scar creation. Dr. George D. Winter’s wound care study showed that the regrowth of skin over a wound (epithelialization) was twice as fast in those wounds covered with a film dressing.

Wounds Heal Faster with Vaseline – Vaseline (petroleum jelly) not only keeps wounds clean and moist but also provides an occlusive layer, thus keeps the wound covered. It keeps germs out decreasing the risk on infection. Apart from that, it hydrates the wound stimulating the healing process. If you have tried it once yourself you will probably have noticed the wound scabs far less. Normally the creation of a scab is accompanied by a little inflammation. The skin surrounding the wound is a little pink or red colored and raised. Healing wounds often itch due to histamine production. Scratching an itching  scab off is not desirable. When using Vaseline the wound will scab less and the new skin will be less raised (or not at all) and with less discoloration. Vaseline, being a non-irritating product, also soothes minor scrapes and burns.

Vitamin C Supplements – Increase your intake of vitamin C. Michael A.Fiorillo, MD a New York City area plastic surgeon recommends 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C to anyone with an open wound because it helps them heal faster.

Wound Care with Honey – Since the dawn of time, honey has been used effectively in wound care. With the development of resistance against antibiotics, honey is being rediscovered as a medicine. “Honey provides a protective barrier defending the wound against infections and the tissue growth is not slowed down by drying,” says a spokesperson from the Waikato University in New Zealand. They have seen remarkable results with a locally produced Manuka honey. This honey contains strong antibacterial properties that prevent microbial growth in the moist healing environment created. Unlike other topical antiseptics, honey causes no tissue damage: in animal studies it has been demonstrated that it actually promotes the healing process. It makes direct contact with the wound’s surface but the dressing does not stick, so there is no pain or tissue damage when dressings are removed. Honey promotes a moist wound environment by drawing lymph into the wound through osmosis and preventing dressings from adhering to the wound bed. Medical grade (sterilized by gamma irradiation) manuka honey, marketed as Medihoney dressings, has shown to effectively treat various types of wounds. Clinical trials show infections being cleared rapidly, inflammation, swelling and pain are quickly reduced, sloughing of necrotic tissue is generated, granulation and epithelialisation are hastened, and healing occurs rapidly with minimal scarring. Medical Manuka honey products manufactured by the company Derma Sciences, are the only FDA-cleared, honey-infused wound dressings on the American market.

Iodex Antiseptic Ointment – If you for any reason should not want to use Manuka honey as a wound care product, Iodex is the next best alternative. Iodex feels like a gel, it doesn’t stain, takes out splinters, stops infections and generally speeds up the healing of cuts. Just put a dab on and throw a bandage over it. It doesn’t take much – A little bottle will be sufficient for many years. (Lee Pharmaceuticals Iodex, 1-Ounce Jar)

Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2016

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