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Summer cuts, burns, bites: Is medical help needed?

Here’s some guidance from the Trinity Wound Healing Center

July 18, 2010
Messenger News

Minor cuts and scrapes are a part of everyday life and for some people the inconvenience and expense of seeking medical care may outweigh health concerns about the injury itself.

At the Trinity Wound Healing Center, we see firsthand the effects of waiting too long to seek treatment for minor cuts and scrapes. People with health problems such as diabetes, vascular problems or obesity should be extra cautious when they have any cut or scrape. Any delay in seeking medical attention could lead to chronic wounds, infections or other complications that could have lasting effects. The Trinity Wound Healing Center would like to offer these few tips to help you stay healthy during the summer.

Sunburns can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, yet can be associated with shock, heat exhaustion and dehydration which need professional attention. Symptoms indicating a serious reaction can include severe painful blisters, nausea, fever, chills, extreme thirst, rapid breathing, faintness and dizziness.

Deep puncture wounds made by nails and knives are especially susceptible to tetanus bacteria commonly found in soil. All wounds should be cleaned immediately. Adults who have not had a tetanus-diphtheria shot in 10 years or children who have not been vaccinated should seek professional attention and receive the vaccine.

People with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and vascular disease as well as the elderly and those who have had radiation therapy should closely monitor all wounds for signs of infection or failure to heal, especially those on the lower extremities.

Seek medical treatment if a burn or wound shows signs of infection including increased pain at the wound site, redness or swelling spreading away from the wound, a foul wound odor, change in color or amount of drainage from the wound, or if you experience fever, chills, nausea or vomiting.

Bites from unknown or wild animals require immediate medical attention. Also seek treatment if the bite is deep or large, on the face, neck or hands or if there is swelling, redness, pain or infection draining from the wound. Animal bites also pose a tetanus threat to those who have not been vaccinated.

Seek emergency assistance for insect bites if you are experiencing trouble breathing, facial swelling or turning blue, weakness or tightening of the throat. Emergency rooms and wound healing centers equipped with hyperbaric oxygen chambers are needed to treat some serious spider bites, like those of the brown recluse spider.

Remembering these simple tips can help you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy this summer.

For more information on treating chronic or infected wounds, contact the Trinity Wound Healing Center located at Trinity Regional Medical Center or call 574-6068.

Jay Bell is manager of the Trinity Wound Healing Center.



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