When a Wound Becomes Infected


Sometimes a seemingly innocuous cut or scrape can become a larger problem, especially if dirt, gravel, or saliva has been embedded in the wound.

Essentially, an infection occurs because the white blood cells can no longer handle the germs that have newly invaded the body. Also, if you have had an unfortunate encounter with an animal, make sure you did not contract rabies; merely dressing the bite will not prevent you from further infection.

Once you have cleaned the affected area with a damp washcloth and an antiseptic (hydrogen peroxide or an antibiotic ointment), pay attention to how you are feeling.  If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, it may be best to head to the hospital for guidance about what to do next:

  • Fatigue and general malaise may point to an infection, especially if you feel you need more sleep than usual.
  • Increased swelling, redness and pain over time can indicate that your body is unable to ward off the infection.
  • Pay attention to a fever that climbs to 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Watch for pus that is cloudy, green or yellowish in color.

Next Steps: Visit Your Doctor and Head to the Pharmacy

If any of the aforementioned symptoms persist, heading to your doctor’s office would be best to prevent the infection from spreading.  With the proper antibiotics prescribed and a quick trip to the pharmacy, you will hopefully have peace of mind and a quick recovery.

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