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Is your wound progressing towards healing?

All open wounds heal in the same way. First, new red tissue builds up from the bottom and then new skin grows in from the edges and covers the red tissue. Your wound will heal fastest if you create the best conditions for new tissue to grow. Keep your wound: clean, warm & moist.

If your wound is not progressing towards healing it may be for several reasons. First, it may have to do with an underlying condition that is not properly controlled, for example use of proper compression for venous insufficiency, or glucose control in diabetes. Another reason why your wound is not healing may be because it has become infected.

Tips on how to document your wound progression

Your healthcare professional may already have given you instructions on how to document the progress of your wound, which you should follow.

See below for general tips that can help you in documenting the progress of your wound:

  • Take a picture of the wound after cleaning from the same distance and angle for every dressing change

  • Note down any unusual observations, for example change in pain level, change in the level of wound fluid oozing from the wound, change of colour of the wound and wound surroundings

How can you protect your wound from infection?

Germs from your skin or your environment can create an infection in the wound. They may nest in the wound if it has not been sufficiently cleaned. Wash your hands following the correct hand washing procedure – this is one of the most important things you and your care givers can do to prevent infection.

Please refer to the hand washing guide, and the step-by-step guide on how to clean your wound before applying a new dressing, on the main page.

Germs can also get into the wound during dressing changes or if the wound is not sufficiently covered by the dressing during wear.

Keep a clean dressing on your wound – dressings keep germs out and protect the wound from injury. They also help absorb fluid that drains from the wound and could damage the skin around it.

How do I know if my wound gets infected?

There are some signs that you should be aware of, as they can be signs of wound infection.


 Contact your healthcare professional if you notice any of the following:

  • The wound is not progressing as expected

  • The wound may be oozing more than usual, or the wound fluid becomes thicker

  • The dressing may become more wet than usual

  • You may experience an increased amount of pain from the wound

  • There can be an unusual smell from the wound

  • There may be an increase in redness and/or swelling around the wound

Please note that if you have a diabetic foot ulcer your wound may not show these signs – always be very aware of any changes in your wound and contact your health care professional if in doubt.

Be aware of spreading infection

  • If redness, pain and/or swelling spreads to areas away from the immediate edge of the wound

  • If you feel unwell or have a fever

If you experience any of these, contact a healthcare professional immediately as you may have a wound infection that is spreading.

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