The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 2.8 million people in the United States get sick from healthcare-associated infections every year. Wounds are skin abrasions or punctures in the skin that may be caused by accidents, falls, bites, or surgical incisions. This article will focus on the different types of wounds and how to take care of them.
What are the Different Types of Infections?
Infections can be classified as either superficial or deep-seated
Superficial infections are those that affect only the skin layers such as impetigo.
Deep-seated infections affect tissue deeper in the body such as osteomyelitis.
What are the Signs that a Wound is Infected?
Recognizing that you have an infected wound is just as important as learning how to care for it.
Signs that a wound is infected will vary significantly based on a few factors:
- The location of the wound
- The type of infection you have
- How long you’ve had the infection before noticing it
Symptoms of an infected wound:
- Redness or swelling around the wound
- Warmth coming from the wound
- Discharge coming from the wound (pus)
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin or armpit area
- Fever, chills, shaking, and other flu symptoms
How to Treat an Infected Wound
Understanding wound care is vital to ensure you’re taking proper care of an infection, no matter how small it may be. Here are some tips for treating a wound at home.
1) Clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water, then dry it with a clean towel.
2) Apply an antibiotic ointment or cream to the wound and cover it with a sterile dressing or bandage.
3) Change the dressing or bandage at least once a day, or more often if needed.
Infection is one of the most common complications of a wound. It can occur when bacteria, fungi or other microbes enter the wound and begin to grow. The best way to treat an infected wound is with antibiotics prescribed by a specialist. Antibiotics can be given by injection or orally.
If you are not sure what type of infection you have, contact your doctor for advice!
How to Prevent a Wound Infection
Preventing a wound infection is of course equally as important as knowing how to care for a wound if it does get infected. There are several steps you can take in order to prevent such an event from occurring.
The most important thing to do is to keep the wound clean. Wash the wound with soap and water, rinse and dry it well.
If the wound is on your foot or leg, elevate it as much as possible. If you have an open wound, cover it with a sterile bandage.
If you are diabetic or have a weakened immune system, tell your doctor about any wounds that don’t heal quickly.
If you have a deep cut or puncture wound, get medical help right away because these can become infected easily.
If a wound becomes infected, it is important to carefully look at the signs of infection and take care of it as soon as possible.
The signs of an infected wound are swelling, redness, and pain around the infected area. One needs to use a sterile water or saline solution to clean the wound and then dry away any excess moisture that could create an environment for bacteria growth. Next, one needs to apply topical antibiotic ointment over the wound with a bandage over that. Lastly, you should follow up with your doctor or infectious disease specialist if you have questions on how to take care of your specific type of wound infection.