What are Wounds?
When an internal or external break in body tissue occurs – we term it a ‘wound’. Open wounds (such as cuts from a knife) are breaks in the skin or mucous membranes. Open wounds are most commonly caused by accidents such as falls, mishandling of sharp objects, accidents with tools or machinery, and car accidents and are almost always accompanied by pain. A closed wound (a contusion or internal bleeding) is a bruise that damages the underlying tissue without breaking the skin (as in a black eye).
Some wounds may be accompanied by swelling and inflammation, and more serious wounds that do not stop bleeding with applied pressure, may need stitches or sutures. This holds the two edges of a wound together so that healing can occur with a minimum of scarring. After an injury that causes a break in the skin, infection is the greatest concern. Always seek medical advice if a fever accompanies a healing wound, blood pressure drops or you experience rapid heartbeat. As with any wound, it is important to have a physician inspect the wound and help decide if sutures, antibiotics, tetanus therapy or other treatment is necessary.
What Causes Wounds?
There are at least five different types of open wounds:
- Abrasions - a skin wound caused by rubbing or scraping the skin against a hard, rough surface. Bleeding in this type of wound is usually limited, but it is important that the skin be cleaned in order to guard against infection.
- Incisions - a cut caused by a knife, the rough edge of metal, broken glass, a razor blade or some other sharp object. This type of wound generally bleeds rapidly and heavily. If the cut is deep, muscles, tendons and nerves may be damaged.
- Cuts/Lacerations - a jagged, irregular or blunt breaking or tearing of soft tissues, often resulting from mishandling tools and machinery and other accidents. Bleeding from a laceration may be rapid and extensive.
- Punctures - a piercing wound that causes a small hole in the tissues. Such objects as nails, needles, ice picks and other pointed objects can produce puncture wounds. Even if external bleeding is slight, there may be serious internal bleeding resulting from internal damage to an organ (as in a gunshot wound). All puncture wounds require the attention of a health professional because of the danger of tetanus.
- Avulsions - An avulsion is a forcible tearing or partial tearing away of tissues. It occurs in such accidents as gunshot wounds, explosions, animal bites or other body-crushing injuries. Bleeding is heavy and rapid.
Help for Wounds
Many herbal and homeopathic remedies have been formulated with specific ingredients to promote healing and support the body’s ability to resist infection. Herbs such as Agrimonia eupatoria (a well-known astringent which helps to tighten and constrict tissues) and Achillea millefolium (named after Achilles, the Greek mythical figure, who used it to stop the bleeding wounds of his soldiers) can help to heal wounds naturally. Calendula officianalis is an effective first-aid solution for all minor burns and scalds, as well as any skin abrasion or cuts. Calendula will also benefit the healing process by stimulating the natural process of healthy skin and tissue regeneration.