Q:

How do wounds heal?

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Quick Answer

A few minutes after the injury, a wound begins to heal with the formation of a blood clot and scab to protect it from infection, according to MedlinePlus. For two to five days, the wound becomes slightly red and tender as the body increases blood flow to the area. The blood cells form collagen, the foundation of new tissue, then granulation tissue begins to fill in the opening prior to the formation of new skin and a scar.

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Full Answer

Wounds are breaks or openings through the skin, which is the body's protective layer against germs, explains MedlinePlus. Deep wounds may also affect muscles, nerves, connective tissue and bones. While most wounds heal easily, they require protection to prevent infection.

While small wounds heal well and are not likely to leave scars, infection slows the healing process and can increase the size of the wound, reports MedlinePlus. Diseases such as diabetes, alcohol, tobacco and certain medications also slow healing. Older adults and people under stress also heal more slowly than normal.

When wounds do not stop bleeding after 10 minutes of direct pressure, they require medical attention, warns MedlinePlus. Wounds that show signs of infection or cause a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit for over four hours also require medical care.

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