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Recognizing the Risk Factors and Signs of Infection

Recognizing the Risk Factors and Signs of Infection

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signs of wound infection

Seek medical attention if you notice signs of wound infection.

Healing wounds require special attention and care to make sure the recovery process goes smoothly. Working with your clinician to find the best dressings and come up with the right recovery plan is essential not just to reduce scarring and speed up healing, but also to minimize the risk of infection. When a wound becomes infected, it can be painful and make it difficult for the affected area to move into the next stage of healing. Reduce your risk by understanding what causes infection as well as what an infected wound looks like:

Risk factors for infection

When a harmful bacterium enters the affected area, wounds can become infected. Along with hindering the healing process and enhancing scarring, the infection may spread to other parts of the body. In severe cases, infections can become gangrenous and require amputation. When bacteria cause tetanus to develop, it can be fatal. That’s why it’s important to understand that wound infection is more likely when:

  • it’s caused by a bite from an animal or human
  • it’s the result of a puncture from glass, nails or another external object
  • the wound isn’t cleaned within eight hours
  • it occurs in an area with high bacteria levels, such as the hand, foot, armpit or groin
  • the wound heals slowly
  • the affected area contains saliva or dirt
  • the patient has diabetes, alcoholism or a weak immune system

Symptoms of infection

Sometimes, even the most careful attention can’t stop wound infection from taking over. Seek medical attention from your clinician at the first sign of an infected wound, such as:

  • foul-smelling wound drainage
  • yellow or yellow-green exudate
  • changes in the size or color of the wound
  • red streaks surrounding the wound
  • pain, redness or swelling around the affected area
  • fever


Download our FREE Wound Treatment Product Guide for more information on treating wound infections.

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