Cuts and scrapes are a normal part of life.
And while time is said to heal all wounds, infected wounds will need a little extra care.
But how exactly does a wound get infected? Your skin is the largest organ in your body and acts as a protective barrier, keeping nasty germs and pathogens away.
But when it breaks, whether from something as minor as a scratch on the knee or as severe as a surgical wound, it can be exposed to infection from germs.
This can happen for several reasons; for example, the wound has become contaminated, foreign particles get trapped in it, the damage is extensive or deep, your immunity is low, etc.
Signs of infection can include fever, chills, pus, and redness. The wound may also smell bad, be hot to the touch, and be painful.
Infected wounds must be taken seriously. An infection can start small, but if not treated properly, it can cause tissue death, spread to other parts of your body such as your blood or bones, and even affect essential organs such as your heart and brain.
Whatever you do at home can only be a complementary treatment to your doctor’s advice.
When to see a doctor
Although you can treat some wounds at home, you should see a doctor if:
- An open wound is more profound than 1/2 inch.
- Bleeding does not stop with direct pressure.
- The bleeding lasts more than 20 minutes.
- The bleeding is the result of a severe accident.
Your doctor can use different techniques to treat your open wound. After cleaning and possibly numbing the area with anesthesia, your doctor may close the wound with skin glue, sutures, or stitches.
You may receive a tetanus booster shot if you have a puncture wound. Depending on where your damage is located and the possibility of infection, your doctor may choose not to close the wound and allow it to heal naturally.
This is known as “secondary intention healing,” from the base of the wound to the superficial epidermis. This process may require you to pack your wound with gauze. Although healing may not be aesthetically attractive, it prevents wound infection and abscess formation.
How to treat an infection after a cut
When you have an opening in your skin due to a cut or scratch, you are exposed to infection. Bacteria from your skin or the environment can enter your tissue through broken skin and cause mild to severe conditions.
Proper care is needed for both prevention and treatment of this complication; many bacteria, especially bacteria that normally colonize the skin, can enter the body and cause infection.
These bacteria bind to tissue and prevent the wound from healing, causing other symptoms, such as increased swelling, high or low body temperature, and increased discharge or pus from the injury. Antibiotics, antiseptics, and dressings that contain silver are effective treatment options.
Minor infections can often be treated and managed at home. However, it is essential to contact your doctor if you suspect you have a skin infection to obtain treatment advice and ensure that you receive the necessary medical attention.
Step 1: Assess the wound.
If you have any signs of infection near your cuts, such as redness, warmth, swelling, pain, or pus drainage, call or visit your doctor for an evaluation and to understand your treatment plan.
If the infection is moderate or severe, or if you have a fever, chills, or pain moving to the surrounding tissues, you should be seen urgently.
Also, see a doctor if you have read warm, swollen, pus-filled, and painful bumps. These are signs of infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, resistant to common antibiotics, and can quickly spread to others.
Step 2: Clean the wound.
After assessing the severity of your infected cut, your healthcare provider can outline the treatment steps. Cleaning the area is usually the priority. For minor infections, warm baths may be sufficient.
Your healthcare provider may use sterile saline or an antibiotic solution to clean the wound and, if necessary, remove dead, damaged, or infected tissue to promote healing.
Step 3: Complete your course of antibiotics.
Minor infections often require the application of an over-the-counter or prescription antibiotic ointment. This should be applied daily, as directed until the infection clears.
Cephalexin inhibits the formation of the bacterial wall, causing it to break down. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic in the penicillin class that also inhibits the construction of the bacterial cell wall.
For severe systemic infections that do not respond to amoxicillin and cephalexin, combination medications such as Augmentin can be an effective antibiotic wound remedy.
Augmentin contains amoxicillin, which is a penicillinase antibiotic, and potassium clavulanate, which work in conjunction to destroy bacteria resistant to beta-lactams.
This ointment kills bacteria near the cut, but it also keeps the wound moist to promote healing. Moderate or severe infections generally require oral antibiotics and, in some cases, intravenous medications to treat the disease.
Take your total dose of antibiotics, even if the infection seems to be getting better. Not completing the course of antibiotics can allow bacteria to become resistant to the drug, making future conditions more difficult to treat.
Slow-release antiseptic solutions, such as Cadexomer iodine and Povidone-iodine, are used in conjugation with antibiotics to treat wound infection. Iodine has antiseptic properties that are effective against a wide variety of pathogens.
Unlike antibiotics, which destroy bacterial cells, slow-release antiseptics target and crush many bacterial functions.
Antiseptics containing iodine inhibit the formation of cell membranes and destroy the organelles in the cytoplasm and the nucleic acids that cells need to survive.
Noble metals such as silver effectively treat antibiotic-resistant strains that colonize wounds. Silver inhibits the multiplication of bacteria by interfering with the bacterial electron transport system.
Sulfadiazine is a solution of silver and sulfonamide and is used as a topical treatment for broad-spectrum bacteria.
Sulfadiazine is applied with an absorbent polyethylene mesh that slowly releases silver in toxic concentrations to broad-spectrum bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus infections, but is safe for patients. Humans.
Stage 4: Clean and cover the wound regularly.
If your wound is infected, you will need to clean and cover it regularly. Your doctor will tell you how often to change your bandage and what type of bandage would be right for you. A healthcare professional can change your dressing, but they can also handle it at home in some cases.
Not all dressings are created equal. For example, transparent sauces or hydrocolloid dressings are not recommended for infected wounds. Therefore, adhere to the bandage that your doctor recommends.
If you have been asked to dress the wound at home, follow these steps:
First, make sure your hands are clean. When changing your bandage, it makes sense to wear a new pair of non-sterile gloves. Clean the wound with soap and warm water and a clean cloth and pat dry.
Cover the wound (if the dressing sticks, moistening it with warm water will help it come off quickly) to keep it clean and moist as it heals.
Use a sterile nonstick bandage and change the wound cover unless otherwise directed. Do not burst or drain blisters or pockets of pus, as this can make the infection more likely to worsen or spread to others.
Your doctor may recommend soaking the bandage and tape in saline before use to help with disinfection.
Ensure to wash your hands and dispose of the old dressing safely after you are done. Bandages are intended for:
- Keep wounds away from infection by external factors that may come from exposure. The longer the exposure duration, the more problems it can create.
- To contain bleeding because blood loss could be dangerous and weaken the injured person.
- To provide additional support and protection. Bandages are applied to areas that need care and, unlike entire regions, they need more protection.
- A suitable application will seal the wound and protect it from external factors that could prolong it. The application will help the wound heal quickly.
Step 5: Follow all your doctor’s instructions.
Take all prescribed antibiotics according to your healthcare provider’s instructions, even if the infection seems to be getting better.
If you discontinue the medication without taking the entire course, the bacteria will not clear from your system, and it may become resistant to the antibiotic you were taking, making the infection more difficult to treat.
Things you will need:
- Sterile bandage.
- Soap and water.
- Antibiotic cream.
- Your doctor’s phone number.
Stages of wound healing
After an injury, the body comes out with a natural response or, in other words, the emergency response, and this initial phase is called the inflammatory phase. This can last a couple of days.
This is when we should take the wound infection treatment. Otherwise, it may damage all the cells in the region. And this phase tries to prevent further blood loss.
Immediately after an injury, the blood vessels in the wound bed constrict to form a clot.
After the bleeding has stopped, the blood vessels widen to allow antibodies, white blood cells, enzymes, and nutrients to reach the injured area. Signs of inflammation include swelling, warmth, and pain.
The wound surfaces are rebuilt in the next phase with new connective tissue and microscopic blood vessels, called granulation tissues. It usually grows from the base wound and can fill wounds of most sizes.
This is the last phase when the wound is about to close. It can last between 2-3 weeks to 2 years. There is a reduction in cellular activity. The number of blood vessels in the injured area begins to decrease.
The epithelial cells found in the hair follicles and sweat glands move over the newly formed tissue, reducing the size of the wound by contracting.
To prevent a cut from becoming infected, clean it with soap and water after controlling bleeding. Apply sterile nonstick bandages daily or frequently if the application gets wet or dirty.
Natural mixtures to take care of the wound
Use antibacterial honey and neem.
Ayurveda has traditionally used natural antiseptic remedies like honey and neem to treat infected wounds.
As demonstrated in a case study, treating a chronic wound infected by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria with these was found to be quite effective.
When the wound was washed with a decoction of neem bark and cleaned with sterile swabs in the morning before topical honey application, it healed in 35 days.
Apply a healing turmeric paste
Turmeric is commonly used in Southeast Asia to promote wound healing. How does it work? Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, can speed recovery by increasing collagen synthesis, a protein found in the skin and connective tissues that give them structure.
It also improves cell proliferation. This means better skin growth, higher tensile strength, and better wound contraction.
But that is not all. Studies have also shown that turmeric is effective against many pathogens that can infect you.
So, give this simple traditional remedy: make a paste of turmeric powder and water and apply it to the wound. And since we can’t stress this enough, clear this remedy with your doctor before trying it on your open wound.
Consuming garlic to slow the infection
Garlic contains a beneficial compound known as alliin. When you crush garlic, this compound turns into sulfur-containing allicin, which has strong antimicrobial properties.
One study found that when people suffering from burns had a couple of crushed garlic cloves mixed with yogurt and their lunch, it delayed the development of infection and reduced the need for antibiotics.
Therefore, spicy garlic to flavor your meals can work as a supplemental herbal medicine to fight wound infections.
An unlikely candidate for wound healing, potatoes are said to pull infections from any wound.
Place a few slices of raw potatoes on the injured area and tape them down, leaving them overnight. Depending on the infection, it helps to remove the pus in a day or two.
It is well known that Aloe Vera helps heal minor burns. Aloe Vera is also suitable for treating cuts and scrapes.
The gel within Aloe leaves has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds, burns, and similar skin conditions. This makes Aloe Vera identical to an antibiotic and a disinfectant.
Not only does it help nourish hair, but coconut oil is also known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties that make its use beneficial in treating a wound. To use coconut oil on minor injuries, follow the steps below:
- Apply coconut oil to the injured area.
- Bandage to seal in moisture.
- Apply the coconut oil and make the dressing change twice a day.
- Repeat this method for many days until the wound has completely healed.
Untreated or improperly treated infections can spread to other parts of the body and increase the risk of life-threatening complications. Seek immediate treatment for any infected cuts.
Seek urgent medical attention if your infection worsens or does not improve, if you have red streaks or worsening pain at the site of infection, if you have increased pus or a foul odor from the wound area, or if you have a fever or shaking chills.
Speeds up the healing process with the proper nutrients
Eating a healthy diet is essential for wound healing. Include foods from all the food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, poultry, and lean meat to strengthen your body.
Specifically, you may need:
Increase the calories you eat as wound healing requires energy. Have enough protein as it helps make new tissue. Think of meats, beans, nuts, and dairy products. Drink plenty of fluids, as healing can be hampered if the skin becomes dry.
Get enough vitamin C as it helps to synthesize collagen. Try eating leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits to increase your vitamin C intake.
When the healing process is interrupted due to internal or external factors such as humidity, infection, age, and the type of nutrition, it only aggravates the problem.
The wound healing process must be supported by proper nutrition. At the time of healing, it is essential to take in additional calories that should come more from protein. Without adequate food and nutrition, the wound condition may not heal quickly.
Therefore, we can conclude that it is tough to avoid injuries intentionally or not. Still, practical steps can always be taken to reduce the severity of wound infections with those injuries.
Knowing a thing or two about the steps in treating wound infection properly is helpful.
Quitting Smoking: Slows Healing
Smoking can make your blood vessels smaller. This makes it difficult for them to bring healing factors, nutrients, and oxygen to the wound, all of which are important for healing.