Do you know how to tell if a wound is infected?
Every wound has the potential of becoming infected. Once infection sets in it can spread quickly and become increasingly dangerous.
In the modern world it is easy for us to take for granted the easy access to doctors and medicine like antibiotics. But there are many situations in which these luxuries may not be available.
Events such as a natural disaster, terror attack, or economic collapse, can bring the comfort and order of modern society to a halt without warning.
This is why it is important to have practical and actionable knowledge about how to stay healthy and take care of yourself and your family in an emergency situation.
How to Treat a Wound
Whether you are out camping or on a hike, evacuating to escape a natural disaster, or just prone to accidents at home, it is useful to be able to treat wounds and subsequently identify signs of infection.
If you are a loved one are wounded, the first step is to stop the bleeding. Use a clean material such as cloth or gauze and hold pressure on the wound. Hold the pressure for several minutes until the bleeding stops. It may help to elevate the wound.
Wash your hands before inspecting any wound whether it is new or old. If the wound is new gently wash away any particles that may be in the wound or around the wound site.
Sanitize the wound with gentle natural cleaners such as tea tree, calendula, aloe, chamomile, silver oxide, or even raw unfiltered honey.
Use a clean bandage to wrap or cover the wound. Clean regularly twice a day and watch the wound for any noticeable changes or signs of infection.
The following 5 symptoms can indicate an infection of a wound:
Swelling and redness is common at the site of a recent wound, however it should lessen with time. If redness or swelling persist or worsen, then an infection is likely. Additionally, be on the lookout for red radiating streaks around a wound. These red streaks are known as lymphangitis and generally indicate an infection that has made it’s way into the lymphatics Heat is another inflammatory sign of infection. As an infection develops, the immune system sends infection-fighting white blood cells to the site of the wound. This inflammatory immune response can cause the wound to feel unusually warm to the touch.
2. Smelly/Greenish Drainage
When examining the drainage coming off of your wound it is important to note the odor and the color. If you observe pus that has a green color or a foul odor, then you are dealing with an infection. However, drainage with a white or yellow hue is actually something called granulation tissue. Granulation tissue is a perfectly normal part of the healing process. Healthy wound drainage can be managed with absorbent cloths and negative pressure therapy.
Fever is one of the more obvious and well-known signs of infection. When you have a fever you may feel slightly nauseous and lose your appetite. A low-grade fever is classified as 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less and may not necessarily indicate infection. However, if your body temperature exceeds 100 degrees then an infection or other illness is likely.
4. Sense of Melancholy
If an infection has spread from the site of the wound your immune system begins to mount a more global defense. This can lead to a general feeling of melancholy or malaise. Feeling unwell is a common sign of a localized systemic infection. This includes a feeling of lethargy and a lack of energy. You might sleep more than usual and not feel capable of engaging in your usual day-to-day activities.
5. Persistent Pain
An initial sensation of pain following a wound is completely normal. However, if the pain lingers or worsens then it is possible that you are dealing with an infection. Pain signals are a way for your body to communicate that something is wrong so they should not be ignored.
Play it Safe
If you or a loved one develop any of these symptoms then it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Antibiotics may be necessary to keep your infection from getting out of control.
For emergency situations when a doctor may not be accessible, it is wise to have natural antibiotics such as oregano oil and tea tree oil on hand.
Take it Seriously
Wound infections are a serious issue. Often, superficial infections can spread very quickly, even overnight. This can be seen in the case of staph infections which are caused by the staphylococcus bacteria. These bacteria are common and can actually be found on everybody’s skin. Normally, they are not problematic. But when they enter a wound and grow out of control they quickly become toxic.
To avoid things taking a turn for the worse, address your symptoms as soon as they arise. If you think you have an infection seek medical attention immediately. Whenever you have a serious wound, make sure to clean it thoroughly and regularly, drink plenty of water, and get adequate rest.
Whether it is an emergency situation or during your day-to-day life, taking wound care seriously can help you prevent infection and may even save your life.
Sign up for Dr. Colbert's Newsletter
Receive the latest news on preventative medicine, supplements, promotions, and much more.