Wound infections arise when bacteria enters a cut on the skin or flesh. This infection can affect the skin only at first, but if left untreated, it can penetrate further into the tissues and organs, which makes it imperative to clean the infected wound before the infection spreads. You must first understand the signs of an infected wound. A wound will be infected when these symptoms arise in the patient:
- Swollen skin around the wound, which is painful at touch
- Yellowish pus formation in the wound
- Foul smell emitting from the wound
- The infected wound will delay in healing
- A change in the size of the wound
Most wounds are contaminated by bacteria, but infected wound forms as the body cannot cope with the growth of the bacteria.
Although minor wounds can be treated at home, if the wound is deeper and not healing, you must consult a doctor.
For minor wounds, these steps must be taken for its proper cleaning and prevention of spread of infection, but remember to clean and treat the infected wound within 8 hours:
Check the wound closely, and if it appear to have a red bump forming over it, it is most likely infected.
Wash your hands with an antibacterial soap. Put on clean rubber gloves if possible. Clean the cut with soap and water properly, even if it stings. You should use an alcohol-free wipe, soft cloth, or a gauze pad over it. Avoid using antiseptics as it can damage the skin badly. Do not try to pop the bump, but leave it as it is with the bandage fully covering it.
Gently, pat the wound dry with a pad of tissues or a soft cloth. Do not use a cotton ball over it. Let the infected wound dry in the first 24 hours on its own.
Contact your health care provider to get advice on which ointment to apply on the wound. You will most likely be recommended to apply an antibiotic cream. This cream will fight the bacterial infection, and allow the wound to heal normally. You should also apply a warm compress on the wound daily and several times during the day. You may be recommended to take an antibiotic as well orally if the wound has been infected badly.
Cover the wound with a gauze or bandage dressing to let the cream absorb into the wound. Change this dressing daily and apply the antibiotic cream before changing it. Use sterile gloves or cleaned hands every time you change the dressing.
If you see no improvement in to the wound after 48 hours, you must visit the health care provider for further help. The treatment they will carry will be for a wound that has formed a pocket of pus, or an abscess. An abscess has to be treated by opening it and draining the pus from it. Hospital care is vital for an infected wound that is severe, and must not be avoided at any cost.
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