How to care for a minor wound and spot an infection
At some in our lives we all suffered from minor cuts or scrapes. These minor injuries generally heal on their own with no real medical intervention necessary. However, if bacteria enter into the wound, they can cause a potentially serious infection. Velocity Care offers advice on caring for minor wounds and knowing when you should seek medical attention for an infection.
Caring for a wound
Make sure to keep all minor injuries clean using mild soap and water. Hydrogen peroxide is not necessary to clean a wound. To avoid infection, bandages need frequent changing, especially when they get wet or dirty. Consider using an antibiotic ointment to treat a minor wound, which can help prevent an infection, but will not help the wound heal faster. Be sure not to pick at a scab, if one covers the wound. A scab is one way your body tells you that the wound hasn’t healed, and you should leave it alone.
Which types of wounds are most susceptible to infections?
The types of wounds that are most prone to infection are cuts on the hands and feet. You should also closely monitor animal- or human- caused wounds, such as scratches or bites, as well as injuries from dirty items, such as knives or rusty nails. We recommend you have a tetanus shot after these types of injuries.
Signs of infection
Common signs of infection include:
- Wound feels warm or is swollen and red in color.
- Foul odor coming from the wound.
- Pus (yellow or greenish liquid) seeping from wound.
- Generally feeling unwell.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- If you notice red lines on your skin reaching from the wound, this may be a serious issue, and you should seek medical attention immediately. It may be a sign the infection is spreading to the lymph system.
Important things to remember
- While symptoms can range from mild to severe, if you are experiencing multiple symptoms at once, especially dizziness, you should see a medical professional.
- If a doctor believes you have an infected wound, he or she may prescribe antibiotics, and you should take them as directed.
- Itching around the site of the injury is a common part of the healing process and generally not a cause for concern. Some drainage from a wound site is also common and not concerning, as long as the liquid is clear.
If you are unsure if have an infection, it is always best to err on the side of caution and have a medical professional check the wound.
The board-certified, emergency medicine physicians at Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center are committed to providing outstanding medical care with little or no wait for you and your family. Our walk-in clinics offer wound care, including stitches and a tetanus shot, if needed. Visit our website for additional medical advice or to find the location nearest you.
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