You can develop a wound on your body for a variety of reasons. Some are the result of accidents, like falling, while others occur because of surgical procedures. It’s even possible to develop a wound from wearing poorly fitting shoes that rub your skin raw.
The problem with wounds is that the trauma to your skin leaves you vulnerable to infection. That’s because your skin is your first layer of defense against germs like bacteria.
These germs can penetrate the area and grow, which can interfere with the healing process, cause additional tissue damage, and even spread farther into your body, including to your organs and bones.
If you have a wound, here are symptoms you should never ignore and what to do when infection develops.
Signs of infection
Any kind of wound can become infected, even those made during a surgical procedure. It’s also possible to develop an infection after receiving treatment for a wound.
The first signs of infection usually occur near the injury site itself. They might include:
- Warmth or heat in the area
- Redness around the edges of the skin
- More pain instead of improvement
- A smelly, yellow, or greenish discharge from the cut
As the infection spreads, so do your symptoms. Redness can begin streaking out from the wound, and you can experience symptoms throughout your body, like muscle aches, fever, fatigue, and nausea.
When to get treatment
Most healthy individuals with minor wounds and mild infections can address their symptoms at home. In these cases, the infection typically responds to careful cleansing, antiseptic ointments, air drying, and clean gauze or bandages.
But if the wound doesn’t improve within a day or two, is severe, or you have an underlying health condition, seek professional attention immediately.
People at risk of wound infection include those with:
- A weakened immune system
- Poor blood circulation
- Reduced, limited, or lack of mobility
- Obesity, alcoholism, or nutritional deficiencies
- Poor hygiene
Get medical care immediately if your wound involves an animal bite, a dirty or rusty object, or excessive bleeding.
Treating an infected wound
As wound care specialists, our team creates a personalized treatment strategy on a case-by-case basis.
First, we perform a comprehensive assessment, review your medical history, and perform lab tests and diagnostics, if needed. We also examine your wound closely to determine the severity of your infection.
Treating infected wounds usually includes a combination of therapies, such as:
- Thorough cleansing
- Topical or oral antibiotic medications to treat infection
- Debridement to remove unhealthy tissue from the area
Our team also uses special dressings based on the type of wound. For example, we could use an antimicrobial dressing for an infected wound. This unique bandage has silver technology that fights microorganisms and bacteria.
Your body also needs adequate nutrition and hydration to heal, especially when you have a wound infection. To help support your system as it fights the infection, we could recommend making dietary changes or suggest taking supplements.
To get expert care for a wound or infection, contact one of our Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine locations today. We have offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, Texas, as well as Overland Park, Kansas.