You’ve probably heard that it’s important to keep wounds moist and warm, But what’s the optimal temperature for healing a wound, and how do you maintain it? Read on for details.
When moisture evaporates from a surface, the surface cools. Sweat operates by this principle. So, unfortunately, do wounds. Whenever a wound loses moisture, the tissues of the wound drop in temperature.
The cells and enzymes of the body function best at normal temperature, around 37° C (98.6° F). When wound temperature decreases by as little as 2° C, healing can slow or even cease. In short, when the temperature drops, the healing stops.
Furthermore, cooled tissues cause vasoconstriction and increase hemoglobin’s need for oxygen. As a result, there’s less oxygen available for the type of white blood cells called neutrophils to fight any potential infection.
Here’s the kicker: once the wound tissues cool– such as when left open to air during a dressing change– the wound base can take up to 4 hours to return to normal healing temperature. If a clinician changes a dressing TID, the wound may be outside of the optimal healing range 50% of the time … read more