Even a simple wound that is not treated properly can quickly get worse. Here’s how to identify the signs of a developing infection so you can treat it before it causes any real problems.
1) Debris still trapped under your skin can create an infection
A simple cut can quickly turn into an infection, be careful! For example, if you scratch your face while falling on sandy soil, small particles may enter the affected area. It is essential to immediately remove any debris or dirt from your wound when cleaning, according to Dr. Sonoa Au, a dermatologist in the states of New York and New Jersey. Without it, you risk infection. “However,” she says, “if you find that you really have to dig into the skin to remove anything that’s stuck, it’s best to see a doctor.” Do not believe that rubbing your skin will help you or that the impurities will go away on their own.
2) You clean your wound with soap and this can cause infection
Did you know that soap is on the list of common health products that can be dangerous for you and your family? Regular soap sometimes irritates the skin, which can slow the healing process and cause infection of a cut. Even if the reaction to different cleaners varies from person to person, do not take a risk when treating a cut or scratch.
3) You don’t put a bandage
You think letting your skin “breathe” after cleaning a cut or scrape is a good idea. Not really! Exposing your skin this way opens the door to infections, warns Dr. Au. “The new cells must migrate to the appropriate areas to aid in healing,” says the dermatologist. Keeping your wound covered and moist makes this process easier. This is not the case if you leave it outside. ” The best way to speed up healing and to prevent infection is to keep the wound hydrated with ointments like Neosporin, Vaseline, or Aquaphor.
4) Your wound is very deep or caused by rusty metal
You should seek immediate medical attention in the event of a deep injury, especially if it is caused by rusty metal. Do not try to treat this kind of cut at home. Dr. Au is adamant: you need to see a doctor because you will likely need stitches and probably care that goes far beyond just applying petroleum jelly and homemade dressing!
5) Redness persists around the wound
It is perfectly normal for the skin around the cut or scratch to be different for a while: redness, pain, and tissue that occasionally takes on the appearance of pus (we’ll come back to this). The sign to watch out for, according to Dr. Au, is when one of these symptoms seems to get worse rather than better. The redness around a cut or scrape is a sign of healing, for example. But when this redness persists or spreads significantly, it may be a sign of an infection. See your doctor as soon as possible and be careful not to scratch or rub your injury.
6) The pain does not decrease
Cuts and scratches always hurt a little, sometimes even very badly. But if the abnormal pain persists or if it intensifies instead of decreasing, Dr. Au recommends asking your doctor if you would not get an infection.
7) The pus is smelly or greenish
Two things to watch out for if you pus after a cut or scrape: color and smell. If your pus is greenish and / or smells bad, this is a sure sign of an infection. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible. But if it’s a yellowish substance, don’t worry. What you see is actually a substance called granulation tissue, says Dr. Au. This is part of the healing process and should not be confused with pus.
8) You feel sick
Signs of a skin infection are usually limited to the skin, but not always. The more the infection spreads, the more virulent your body’s counterattack, which can lead to systemic symptoms – fever, nausea, mental confusion, or just feeling a little weird. Everyone reacts differently, but if you feel bad after an unhealed injury, see a doctor who will examine your skin and your symptoms.
9) If your infection becomes really serious
Skin infections can seriously escalate, and it can literally happen overnight. Staph infections are one example. According to the Mayo Clinic, these infections are caused by staphylococcal bacteria, germs found naturally in the skin of healthy people. They do not present any danger. It is only when these bacteria invade your body that a staph infection can become fatal by poisoning your blood. Cellulitis, which is characterized by redness, swelling, sores, or areas where fluid oozes (usually confined to the feet and legs), is one of these infections caused by staph bacteria. Impetigo is another skin infection caused by staph bacteria. This contagious and painful rash usually results in large blisters filled with oozing liquid and covered with an amber crust. Consult your doctor if you have any of these symptoms or if you suspect that your infection has worsened. He or she may prescribe antibiotics or drain certain areas of your skin to relieve you.