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HealthInfo Canterbury

How can I help my wound to heal?

Stay healthy and keep an eye on any other conditions

Some medical conditions can affect how easily your body can heal a wound. For example, having diabetes, an inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis, or poor circulation can slow down your healing. Talk to your doctor or nurse about how you can get your medical conditions under control. You want your overall health to be as good as it can.

Eat well

FDP prawns and broccoliWounds need good nutrition to heal. It's important to have a nutritious well-balanced diet so you get all the protein, vitamins and minerals your body needs to heal well. Read about good food for wound healing. If you think you or your relative might not be eating well enough, talk to your doctor or nurse. They may suggest how you can change your diet, advise you to take supplements or, if appropriate, can refer you to a dietitian.

Drinking too much alcohol can also affect your healing. Read some of the links on alcohol and safe drinking.

Keep active

When you are healing you need good circulation to deliver all the oxygen and nutrients your wound needs to heal. Keeping mobile is important for healthy circulation. Gentle regular exercise such as walking can help your wound to heal.

Keep any leg wounds raised (elevated)

Standing in one place for long periods can slow healing. When you are not walking around, keep your leg up as much as possible. You could put your leg on a footstool or, if possible, lie on the sofa with your foot above the level of your heart. This helps to reduce swelling in your leg, which can help healing.

Talk to your doctor about any medication you are taking

Some medications can affect how well you heal. Talk to your doctor if you are taking any of these:

Don't stop any medicines unless your doctor advises you to. You may need to keep taking them, but with closer supervision from your doctor or nurse.

Stop smoking

Smoking slows healing, so now is a good time to stop. If you would like help to stop, discuss this with your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist. You can also find lots of resources to help you stop smoking on this page.

Keep an eye out for any infection

Signs that your wound may have become infected include increasing pain or tenderness, increasing or spreading redness, and increasing fluid or pus from your wound. If you think your wound could be infected, see your nurse or doctor as soon as possible.

Get enough rest and sleep

Lack of sleep can slow down healing, so try to get enough rest. If you are having trouble sleeping, read about how to form good sleep habits (often called sleep hygiene).

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical nurse specialist, wound care. Last reviewed May 2017.


See also:

Good food for wound healing

How to manage your burn

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Page reference: 96831

Review key: HISKW-128569