Wound Self-Care

Woman changing a bandage on her arm at home

Are you or a loved one dealing with a wound? Browse our FAQs below to learn more about wound care.

The Enloe Wound/Ostomy & Hyperbaric Center is here to help you improve your quality of life, so you can get back to the things you love most.

Should I let my wound be open to air?

No, wound healing best occurs when the wound bed is moist and the healing cells can travel across the wound to close it. The purpose of the dressing is to maintain the right amount of moisture. It will also protect the wound from contamination from the environment.

Can I get my wound wet in the shower?

Your wound can get wet in the shower, unless you have stitches, staples, exposed bone or your doctor has advised against it. Make sure you ask before you shower or bathe. If you need to keep your wound dry, use a trash bag or some sort of plastic cover to keep it dry when you shower. You should not be “soaking” your wound.

If I get dry skin, can I use lotion?

Yes, moist skin is less likely to break down. But do not put skin lotion directly in the wound. If you have broken skin, please ask the doctor for a recommended product.

What kind of skin lotions should I use?

You’ll want to use lotions that are emollients, meaning they put moisture back into the skin. Examples of emollients that may be recommended are: Curel Moisturizing, Nivea, Neutrogena, A&D ointment, Cetaphil, and Eucerin Moisturizing.

Will the sun’s rays or a sun lamp help my skin?

No. These will dry out the wound bed, and the goal is to keep the wound bed moist. In addition, skin may become burned, which can cause other problems.

What does it mean if an area of my skin changes color?

Some skin changes are not harmful, but others, like redness, can be a sign of problems. Inspect the skin around the wound daily for any changes. Report changes, especially redness, to your health care provider when they happen.

Are there special considerations for people who are diabetic?

Yes, it is very important to keep your blood sugar in check. High blood sugar can slow down or prevent wound healing. Talk to your caregiver about a good goal for your blood sugar.

What other things should I be reporting to my wound care doctor?

Please inform your doctor of any of the following:

  • Pain from your wound
  • Increase in drainage from your wound
  • High blood sugar if you are diabetic
  • Redness in the skin around your wound
  • Bleeding from your wound
  • Changes in your body temperature, blood pressure or mental orientation
  • Need for dressing supplies
  • Any new wounds you find on your body
  • Any changes in your medications
  • Difficulty in completing the prescribed dressing changes
  • Any questions or concerns you have about your wound care

Learn More

Enloe Wound/Ostomy & Hyperbaric Center

Talk to your health care provider about a referral.

Contact Us

Phone: 530-332-7144

Fax: 530-893-6950

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