What Are The Signs Of An Infection In A Skin Wound?

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If you’re like most people, you probably have several superficial skin injuries – such as cuts or scrapes – each year. In most cases, these minor injuries resolve quickly with little more than basic at-home care. For deeper or more serious wounds, however, professional treatment and care may be necessary to prevent further complications and promote healing. Whether you have a surface scratch or a serious laceration, it is always important to practice proper wound care to avoid infection and delayed healing. The knowledgeable team at Nest Family Medicine, under the direction of board-certified physician Dr. Priti Ranjan, is proud to offer comprehensive care for a wide range of skin wounds in Plano, TX. Learn more about skin wound care here, including how to recognize the signs of an infected wound and when it may be appropriate to seek professional treatment.

What is a skin wound?

Virtually any trauma or damage to the skin, whether it is superficial or involves deeper layers of tissue, can be classified as a skin wound. Some of the most common skin wounds include:

  • Cuts
  • Scratches
  • Scrapes
  • Lacerations
  • Burns
  • Sunburns
  • Surgical incision wound
  • Bites (animal or insect)
  • Bedsores
  • Diabetic ulcers and sores
  • Traumatic/accident
  • Chronic/nonhealing

While some wounds may heal on their own, others often require specialized care from a medical professional. However, any type of skin wound is at risk for becoming infected, making proper care, cleaning, and monitoring essential practices.

What causes a wound to become infected?

There are a number of potential reasons why a skin wound may become infected, including environmental or personal factors, wound care, and others. Some of the most common risk factors and causes for wound infection include:

  • Bacteria or germs in the wound
  • Debris in the wound
  • Improper wound care and cleaning
  • Diabetes or underlying illness
  • Advanced age
  • Weak immune system
  • Deep injury
  • Wound caused by bite, rusty object, or dirty object

When left untreated, an infected wound can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications, including tissue necrosis and sepsis. It is critical that patients know how to identify the signs of wound infection and seek prompt attention and care to prevent serious complications. The expert team at Nest Family Medicine is committed to providing wound care in Plano, TX for even the most complex cases.

Learn how to tell if a wound is infected

As an infection progresses, it often becomes fairly obvious that something is wrong. However, knowing what to look for can help you recognize the early signs of infection and prevent an infection from becoming worse. Common signs of wound infection include:

  • Redness around the wound
  • Red streaks around the wound
  • Warmness around the wound
  • Pus coming from the wound
  • Odor coming from the wound
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting

When to see a doctor for wound infection

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of wound infection, it is important to seek medical evaluation and treatment to ensure the infection clears and the skin heals properly. Additional signs and symptoms which should be treated immediately include:

  • Wound edges will not stay together
  • Wound has not healed as expected
  • The wound was caused by a dirty or rusty object, or an animal bite

How is an infected wound treated?

Treatment for an infected skin wound will depend on the nature and severity of the wound, the patient’s overall health, and other factors. In some cases, minor topical treatment and at-home care recommendations may be adequate, while more severe wound infections may require oral or IV antibiotics. Dr. Ranjan may also give patients a tetanus booster shot if their wound was caused by a rusty or dirty object and/or they have not had a tetanus shot in the last 5 – 10 years. For wounds, which will not stay together, Dr. Ranjan may use surgical glue, medical strips, or stitches to close the skin.

Know the signs of an infected wound and seek immediate wound care in Plano, TX

If you think your skin wound may be infected, or if it simply is not healing at the expected rate, we invite you to seek wound care treatment at Nest Family Medicine in Plano, TX. Call our friendly team to schedule your appointment with board-certified physician Dr. Priti Ranjan, and let us ensure your health, safety, and healing with advanced wound care today!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.