December 10th, 2008
Sores is the kind of word that can conjure up some pretty disturbing images. When we get them, we usually want them to go away as quickly as possible. Luckily, when a sore erupts our immune system immediately begins to repair the affected region. In most cases, given the proper amount of time and energy, our bodies can take care of a sore in about two weeks. If the sore does not go away, gets bigger, multiplies, or you experience fever or nausea, there is an underlying medical condition at work and the sore is a mere symptom of something bigger and badder. In these cases, you will need to seek the help of a medical professional.
There are 238 known conditions that cause sores on the human body. Most of them are systemic medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, AIDS, or circulatory dysfunction. Some of them are caused by insects like gnats, mosquitoes, fleas, bed bugs, lice, and ticks. Still others are caused by skin infections like dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. There are many types of sores, as well; lesions, blisters, ulcerations, rashes, bed sores, cold sores, canker sores, and abscesses to name a few. These sores are sometimes accompanied by pus, scabs, blood, and plasma depending on how severe the sore is and if it is infected.
Keep the sore clean. Keeping the sore and the area around it clean will help speed up healing by keeping dirt and other pathogens out. Be careful not to agitate the area by scrubbing it too hard. Simply wash the area with lukewarm water and soft soap, rinse, and pat dry with a paper towel. Repeat this two or three times daily. If your sore is large and oozy, make sure to use fresh bandages each time you wash.
In most cases, keep the sore dry. Most sores will benefit from a dry environment. Bacteria need moisture to grow, so keeping the area dry will inhibit bacterial growth. I know there is an urge to cover up the nasty blight, but if you want it to go away quickly, let it breathe. Sores that should be covered are large, open sores that are oozing pus, blood, or other fluid. These should be covered tightly with a bandage to soak up the icky stuff.
Don't scratch! There is nothing worse than having an itch that you just can't scratch. Itching is a wonderful sign it means you are healing. But every time you scratch you are setting back the clock on your healing time. Also, you risk further infection by opening yourself up. There are some oral antihistamines available to reduce the urge to itch. Check with your doctor first because some infections will intensify when antihistamines are used. You can also take a bath in oatmeal to relieve the itching.
Watch that sore! Keep an eye on your sore. Look for changes in color of the area around the sore; redness is a sign of infection. If the skin feels warmer than usual that may also be sign of infection. Of course, any oozing, puffiness, or bleeding is not good. If you are concerned about an infection, consult a physician.
Pharmaceutical aids. There are some topical antibiotics available to treat bacterial infections like Neosporin, bacitracin and Polysporin. For viral infections like chicken pox and shingles, acyclovir is available over-the-counter. For scabies, creams like Kwell and Scabene are available by prescription. For fungal infections, tolnaftates and miconazoles are available over-the-counter. As always, follow the recommended dosage.
Sores heal with time.
Your body does have ingrained mechanisms to deal with most of the dangers you are faced with. The use of pharmaceutical aids should not be the first line of defense. Leave that to your immune system. Unless you have a compromised immune system, give your immune system a boost by reducing stress and sugar intake. Increase your sleep and vitamin and water intake. If you do as you're told and there is no sign of improvement or it gets worse, you will want to run to the pharmacy. Be sure to talk to the pharmacists while you're there; they are more than just pill pushers. There are a few natural alternatives on the right if that suits you better. If all else fails, make an appointment to see a doctor. Just tell them everything, and they will pull out some weapons-grade cream and make everything better. I hope that your experience with sores has been shortened by having read this article. Good luck.