Do you know that many encounters take place in your body! It might sound strange but it does take place when you are wounded when there are harmful germs or your body’s enemies that are pitted against the defenders of your body i.e. white blood cells. However if the former gain an upper hand, then a mild cut can turn into a menacing infection. Micro-organisms can gain access to a wound either by direct contact, self contamination or through air-borne dispersal. It is at this point of time that you need to know what can be called an infection of the wound. When you notice greenish or yellowish fluid draining from your wound, then the chances are that your wound has turned infectious. Moreover, your skin around the wounded area becomes red, swelled up or extremely aching to touch in this case. In certain cases you can also experience the symptoms of fever or headache when suffering from an infection. You can’t surely prevent cuts or wounds as anyone from a toddler to an elderly person gets bruises off and on but you can surely take effective post-cut measures to prevent any fatal infection from occurring.
Core Principles of Prevention
There are some core principles that are to be kept in mind when trying to prevent contaminated wounds from turning into infectious ones. These are written as principles because no matter what sort of a wound you have, these rules make sure that you don’t fall prey to any deadly infections. The principles are enumerated as under:
- It is highly recommended that you never close an infected wound. You need to perform three steps in before you cover your cut. Firstly, after washing the wound with lots of water for ten minutes, dampen the wound with saline. Secondly, use sterilized tweezers or clips to remove any foreign body from the wound. Use surgical equipments to cut damaged and dead tissues as they don’t bleed on being cut. Thereafter dampen the wound again. Thirdly, using clean gauze, cover the cut with a dry dressing.
- For wounds that are more than six hours old, manage with surgical toilet and close it after 48 hours.
- Re-establish breathing and blood movement as soon as probable after damage.
- Make sure that you warm the patient and give him high energy nutrition after the wound for pain relief.
- After eight hours of the cut remove dead, damaged or infected tissue from the wound.
- Don’t only stick to antibiotics as they don’t get in touch with the source of the infection but only the area around the wound.
- Sterile dressing over the wound prevents the chances of contamination turning into a full-fledged infectious site.
- For those persons who are involved in direct aid to the wounded person, it is recommended that they wash their hands thoroughly water or in an antiseptic solution. Avoid touching the wound if your hands are contaminated with blood, mucus, urine and feces.
- Use a cotton swab to apply antiseptic over a wound. Begin at the edge of the wound and then apply it away from it, making sure that you don’t go back over. Moreover the antiseptic shouldn’t be permitted to drain into the wound in any case.
- You need to be extra vigilant while coughing, sneezing or breathing air onto the sterile items or wound as it can lead to infection. Immediately turn your face away from the affected area to prevent infection.
- Try avoiding those factors like chill, fatigue, exposure after a cut as it can reduce the body’s resistance. In case your body is weak, then it is more susceptible to wounds infections.
- When administering a fresh cut or wound, clean the area with hydrogen peroxide and iodine but for long term treatment this method should be avoided.
- Gently scrub the wounded area or use sterile tweezers while removing any foreign body. If you dig into the wound forcefully, it can push the bacteria into the wound deeper.
- Wash the wounded area gently three times a day with soap and water and change your bandage if it gets wet or dirty.
Prevention of Common Types of Wound Infections
After knowing about the core principles that one needs to keep in mind when treating a wound or a cut, there are three common types of infections that you encounter in your day to day life. It becomes essential to know these infections as well as the ways to prevent them. These three infections are- Abscesses, Cellulitis and Lymphangitis.
1) Prevent Abscesses:
Bacteria usually cause abscesses but other micro organisms like fungi and parasites can also be blamed. After a cut, if a foreign body camps on your wounded skin, the body immediately prepares the immune system to deal with the intrusion by sending white blood cells (WBC) to the area. In this process WBC’s surround the bacteria preventing them from spreading the damage to nearby cells and tissues resulting in the development of a collection of WBC’s, fluid, dead tissue and bacteria called pus. This accumulated mass is the abscess. There are also tooth abscesses which are formed when a cavity or a gum disease goes unnoticed. It depends upon where an abscess is located so that we can prevent its occurrence but in general healthy living and hygiene are important. Make sure that you properly clean the cut and then apply an antibacterial lotion to treat skin abrasions. For the prevention of tooth abscess, it is recommended that you brush your teeth and floss them everyday. You also need to visit your dentist after a couple of months and avoid sweet foods and drinks.
2) Prevent Cellulitis:
This type of infection is usually caused by a cut caused by a burn or an insect bite. It is a very common infection and its recovery time is also fast. This infection might start at the skin surface but it doesn’t stop here and moves on to reach the blood vessels causing the affected area to swell, become red and painful. This infection usually attacks those who have open wounds or burns on their exposed parts and are working with meat, fish, poultry, soil or other bacteria laden things. The best protective tip for such people is to use gloves and cover the exposed areas before you start your work. Older people are at a higher risk due to weak immune system and need to strictly adhere to the precautionary measures.
3) Preventing Lymphangitis:
Bacteria namely streptococcus is to be blamed for this kind of infection. Dangerous bacteria usually through animal bites can penetrate your body via a wound and then travel to the lymph nodes through lymph vessels. But in this case the bacteria overpower your defense cells with the result that you get lymphangitis. Your neglect for skin abscess and cellulitis can lead to this condition.
In earlier days an infection from a cut or wound would mean loss of a precious life because common people had no knowledge of the means to prevent the infections resulting from wounds or cuts. But with the revolution that has occurred due to the means of mass communication, no longer is any person helpless or is left to the mercy of nature. Whether it is an infection from a bacteria or fungi you are informed of these simple prevention measures that you can take simply at home and live a happy and healthy life.