Do you or a family member have a wound that just won't heal? Monday’s Ask the Doctor is for you.

Dr. David Johnson is with Carson Tahoe Wound Care Centers - which also opened a center in Reno.

If you have a question, call 858-2222 between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday.

1)  WHAT IS WOUND CARE?

Wound care consists of evaluating and treating non-healing wounds using advanced wound healing technologies as well as traditional medical and surgical therapies. The purpose of wound care is to prevent complications and preserve function. Your wound care physician and care team will determine the appropriate therapies for you and recommend a personal course of wound treatment.

2)  WHY IS IMPORTANT TO TREAT A WOUND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE?

Germs can cause infection if you have a break in the skin, which if left untreated, can cause serious complications. You can also get osteomyelitis, an infection in your bone. A wound or bone infection can be hard to treat and may require an amputation. So, it is important for you to do everything you can to prevent an infection, as well as know the signs and symptoms.

3)  WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS YOU MIGHT HAVE AN INFECTION? 

Increasing redness around the wound, warm or red skin, a red streak spreading from the wound, an increase in wound drainag, pus or cloudy fluid draining from the wound, a foul odor or abnormal smell, fever or chills, increased pain, tenderness at or in the area of the infected bone, increased swelling around the wound, if the wound gets bigger, if the wound has blisters, black or brown dead tissue or if the wound is slow to heal or re-occurs.

4)  HOW DO YOU TREAT COMMON WOUNDS?

Also, after finding the cause of the infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics (by IV or by mouth) and/or pain medications. You may be required to keep the infected area still and/or elevated, or you may need Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to treat the infection. Your doctor will also recommend specific dietary guidelines to help you heal.

5)  HOW DOES HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY HELP?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves exposing the body to 100% oxygen at a pressure that is greater than what you normally experience. Wounds need oxygen to heal properly, and exposing a wound to 100% oxygen can, in some cases, speed the healing process.

6)  IF YOU DO HAVE A SLOW-HEALING WOUND, HOW CAN YOU HELP PREVENT INFECTION?

Wash your hands for 20 seconds from the wrist down with water and antibacterial soap, rinse well, dry your hands with a CLEAN paper towel or towel. Rub your hands together quickly for 20 seconds, only touch your dressing with clean, just washed hand, use gloves if you have them. Keep urine, stool, and other body drainage away from your wound and, likewise, keep your wound away from animal feces, urine, and hair.