Diabetic Wound Care & Prevention Tips for Winter

Diabetic Wound Care & Prevention Tips for Winter

More than 29 million Americans living with diabetes face daily challenges when trying to properly manage their condition. It’s important that people with diabetes learn to control their condition.

Uncontrolled diabetes can cause high blood sugar levels that damage nerves and blood vessels. This damage can lead to poor circulation and reduced sensation, particularly in winter. These two problems can increase your risk for wounds and affect wound healing. The Wound Care Center at Paris Community Hospital offers these tips to help diabetics care for, and prevent, open wounds during the winter months:

Preventing Wounds

doctor wrapping a footPreventing wounds is easier than treating wounds after they occur. Follow these tips to protect against wounds:

  • Quit smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, stop. Smoking impairs your circulation and weakens your immune system, increasing your risk for wounds and poor wound healing. Ask your healthcare provider for options.
  • Avoid hazardous activities. Certain activities, such as using sharp implements and walking barefoot, increase your risk for wounds. Avoid these activities or, if that’s not possible, take appropriate measures to protect your skin.
  • Wear appropriate footwear. Choose shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Ill-fitting shoes increase your risk for circulation problems and pressure ulcers.
  • Manage your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and taking any prescribed medications. You should also attend regular diabetes check-ups.

How to Care for Open Wounds

Follow these general tips to care for an open wound:

  • Keep the wound clean and Soak a gauze pad in saline solution and use it to gently clean the skin around your wound. After cleaning, use a clean gauze pad to carefully pat the wound dry.
  • Dress the wound. Place a sterile dressing of an appropriate size directly on top of your wound. Change your dressing at least once a day, or as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Inspect the wound regularly. When changing your dressing, check your wound to make sure it’s healing. If you have any concerns about your wound, consult your healthcare provider.
  • Keep pressure off the wound. Use foam pads, cushions, and other pressure-reducing devices to take pressure off your wound and give it a chance to heal.

Proper wound care and prevention is important for the health of your skin. By following these tips, you can safely care for existing wounds and protect against new wounds this winter.

If you or someone you know has diabetes and/or needs help managing a non-healing wound, please contact the Wound Care Center at Paris Community Hospital at (217) 465-2606, Ext. 4570.