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Understanding Wound Inflammation

Understanding Wound Inflammation
Kevin Cleary

The wound healing process is generally understood to be a three-step process: inflammation, regeneration (also known as proliferation), and maturation. Wound healing is actually a complex series of events that involves cellular activity and the release of biological substances such as enzymes, carbohydrates, growth factors, and proteins. Each step in the process is there to support the next step in order to have proper wound recovery. Much like building a house and starting with a strong foundation, the inflammation stage of wound healing is the foundation for a successful recovery.

What is the Importance of Wound Inflammation?

In order to have a wound heal properly, the inflammatory stage plays a crucial part in the overall healing process. As an article for nursingtimes.net written by Mark Collier points out, the function of the inflammation stage is to neutralize and destroy any toxins at the site of injury and to restore tissue homeostasis. It is also characterized by heat and redness, pain and swelling accompanied by a raised temperature/fever. A person’s overall health and severity of the wound will have an impact on the effect of the inflammatory stage. Below is a simplistic view of the inflammatory stage of healing.

Importance of Wound Inflammation

It is at the moment of injury or trauma that our bodies leap into action almost immediately. For those that accept inflammation as the first phase of wound healing, hemostasis (the process in which bleeding is stopped) is included in the process. While this is the most widely accepted concept, there are those that believe hemostasis by itself is the first stage of healing. Once bleeding has stopped the use of wound cleansing products can help the wound bed area stay free of foreign debris and bacteria. Something as simple as BD Alcohol Swabs contain isopropyl alcohol for anti-bacterial protection or the Medline Curad Triple Antibiotic Ointment (contains bacitracin zinc, neomycin sulfate, and polymyxin B sulfate) can help prevent infection in minor wounds. Iodine wipes can be used for antiseptic skin preparation, so products such as the Dynarex Povidone Iodine Prep Pad or the Medline Povidone Iodine Swab Sticks are good options. Caution should be taken when using iodine since it can stain both skin and clothing, but in order to remove any iodine stains Nice Pak PDI Io-Gone Iodine Remover Pad should be used.


What are the Characteristics of Inflammation?

As soon as we injure ourselves our body’s invisible little biological army goes to work helping us down the path to recovery. Since the first step in recovering from any wound is widely considered the inflammatory phase, understanding these characteristics can help us determine if the basis for wound healing is progressing properly. According to medicaledu.com, this process begins at the moment of injury and can last 2-5 days it’s at this time that hemostasis occurs via vasoconstriction, platelet aggregation, and thromboplastin makes blood clot to halt bleeding. It’s after this hemostasis that blood vessels dilate to allow other essential cells (antibodies, enzymes, nutrients, etc.) to reach the wounded area. As clinimed.co.uk points out this is when there is a rise in exudate levels so it’s important to check the surrounding skin for maceration. The use of absorbent dressing such as Alginate Dressings and Hydrocolloid Dressings can help absorb wound exudate and help maintain a moist healing environment. For light to medium exudating wounds, hydrocolloid dressing products such as the Hydrocol II Hydrocolloid Dressing or the Systagenix Nu-Derm Bordered Hydrocolloid Wound Dressing can fit the bill. For heavier exudating wounds the use of alginate dressings such as the Sorbsan Topical Calcium Alginate Wound Dressing or the 3M Tegaderm High Gelling Alginate Dressing can absorb large quantities of exudate while maintaining a moist healing environment. Another dressing type that can be used is the Foam Dressing. These are highly absorbent and can be left untouched for 3-4 days. The Mepilex BorderSystagenix Tielle Hydropolymer Adhesive Dressing, and Medline Optifoam Thin Adhesive Foam Dressing are good options. The telltale signs of this point in the healing process are, among others, heat, pain, and functional disturbance.


How You Can Help the Process of Healing?

While our bodies are major players in the inflammation stage, we can help our natural healing process by helping to maintain a healthy healing environment. Once the bleeding process has stopped, keeping the site clean and free from bacteria can go a long way. Remember, a clean wound is a happy wound and will heal faster!!


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HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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