The cold weather of winter has many physical effects on humans, from that simple rosy glow on our faces to fundamentally changing the way we experience pain. Wound healing is profoundly affected by such temperature changes, but it's unfortunately an aspect of healthcare that many patients remain unaware of until it’s too late.
Everyone is fully aware that such aspects as dressing choice, existing health conditions, smoking and diet are major players in recovery, but it’s an undeniable fact that weather has a big part to play, something which might not even cross the patient’s mind. To help you make the best choices, here is the Jobskin guide to the three most important ways that cold weather can negatively affect the wound healing process…
The Issue of Tissue: beauty is only skin deep and it’s the comparatively little and unimportant ways that cold weather affects our skin, that take up all of our attention. The dermis can become dry when exposed to lots of cold air and this has an immediate effect on wound healing, as the process happens quicker in a moist condition. The best way to offset the problem is to keep the wound covered with dressings and wear appropriate protective clothing every time you’re out, even if you don’t actually feel cold.
The Fightback Factor: coughs, colds and flu are caused by viruses and not by temperature, but as our bodies are generally in a weaker condition in winter, it’s easier for these viruses to take hold. Once infected, your body focuses its defences on getting rid of the intruder; but this is at the expense of any healing wounded area, as your body's resources only stretch so far. It’s only a short leap to a wound becoming infected and this obviously has major effects on the process. Take extra care to avoid viruses if you’re in the process of wound recovery.
Circulation and Oxygenation: the entire body relies upon the blood pumped around constantly by the heart and wounded areas are in particular need of the oxygen that it carries. Cold weather hampers circulation and most of us are a lot less active during winter, keeping inside and away from the ice and snow. Though it feels like a nice rest, the inactivity can really affect blood flow in a negative way so keep as warm as you can, but make sure you don't become the proverbial couch potato! It's the perfect time to join a gym, take yoga lessons, learn to salsa or whatever: just keep that life blood flowing freely.
There are lots more ways to assist the process of wound healing during winter; if you feel you could benefit from discovering some of these, then why not give our experts a call? It could be the most important call you make this year