Updated: Feb 6, 2018
December 05, 2017 - Skilled Wound Care
Winter is a tough time for health!
Winter has always been a notoriously bad season for health. Temperature extremes, dry air, cold & flu season, and less sunlight are challenges for everyone, but for the nursing home population, this can be an especially difficult time. Healing wounds in winter can be tough: here are our top three tips for providing great care!
1. ABM (Always Be Moisturizing)
Cold weather means turning on the heat, and that often also means dry skin, which is a huge concern for wound healing. Cold weather can also keep us from getting enough hydration, which exacerbates dry skin concerns. Xerosis (the medical name for dry skin) is a normal result of aging, but can also be caused by some illnesses - like diabetes. Signs of serious dry skin include tightness, roughness, flaking, itching, and redness: all big red flags for any wound care provider! Catching dry skin early can help prevent wounds in the first place, and treating dry skin will help wounds heal faster. The answer? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize: both internally and externally! Make sure everyone is drinking enough water will help skin immensely, and supplementing with external moisturizers will keep the skin from losing moisture in dry air.
2. Avoid long hot showers or baths.
Chilly weather can feel sometimes like it’s all the way deep in your bones, which makes the idea of a long, hot shower or bath very tempting. But that long exposure to hot water can also contribute to drying out the skin and impeding wound healing! A better solution are quick showers or baths in warm (not hot) water, followed by a thorough pat dry. Moisturizing after bathing is also a great idea, as skin will retain hydration well.
And finally, one of the easiest ways to help dry skin (and improve respiration!) is to add humidity into dry environments. Often, central heating systems can really dry out the air in a building, and making sure the ambient environment has enough moisture is critical for good skin health and good respiratory health. Adding a humidifier into a room will help alleviate some of those issues: this guide from the Mayo Clinic walks you through what to look for and how to maintain a humidifier to promote great health.
So stay warm and cozy this winter, and keep dry skin and wounds at bay with these easy tips! Join us next time for another installment in our #WoundCareInsights series, an ongoing compendium of wound care knowledge and recommendations!
Skilled Wound Care is a mobile surgical practice committed to transforming the chronic wound care model in nursing facilities. Wound care experts make weekly bedside visits to patients in long-term care facilities, avoiding transfers to hospitals or clinics. Our expert physicians give patients the most up-to-date and effective wound treatments, and educate facility staff on how to help patients continue to heal quickly and effectively between visits. This model of collaborative care allows SWC’s physicians to improve patients’ lives and health outcomes, to empower nursing staff, and to raise public awareness. Skilled Wound Care, along with its nurse and nursing home partners, is working every day to positively transform traditional nursing home wound care.