Bacteria is your wound’s worst nightmare. When it becomes too much for the body to handle, the chances of infection are more likely.

To be prepared for this potential delay in healing, here’s what you should know about infected wound care:

Understanding the complications

Even the tiniest of cuts can lead to severe skin infections, so it’s important to avoid brushing off the signs and just hoping that the wound will continue to heal itself. Wounds become infected when the body’s immune system cannot fight the bacteria growth, meaning intervention is necessary to prevent the infection from spreading.

The initial complications of an infected wound can include pain, discomfort, delayed healing and increased risk of scarring. If the infection begins to affect surrounding tissue or spread to the blood vessels, the bacteria can then reach other areas of the body, potentially causing skin or bone infections, according to Wound Care Centers.

“Intervention is necessary to prevent the infection from spreading.”

There are conditions that make some patients more susceptible to infection than others. According to Healthline, those circumstances include patients with diabetes or weakened immune systems and wounds caused by dirty objects. Older adults are also at an increased risk of developing infections because our bodies don’t heal as quickly as we age. If you’re at an increased risk of infection, it’s especially important to keep a careful eye on your wound as it heals.Noting the increased risk

Recognizing the signs of wound infection

The most common signs of an infected wound include pain, swelling, redness, bad odor and draining pus. You may also notice local fever, which is when the wound feels much hotter than the surrounding skin. Abnormal changes in the color and size of the wound, such as red streaks, can also be telling indicators.

If the infection spreads, more intense symptoms will begin to show, such as fever, body aches, malaise, nausea, diarrhea or redness in other areas of the skin.

Learning how to care for an infected wound

Treatment will depend on the type of infection, so you’ll want to call your health care provider as soon as you notice the signs. Your doctor may flush the wound with an antibiotic solution or ointment and then prescribe further oral antibiotics to keep fighting the bacteria. To get back on the healing track, it’s also important to keep the infected wound cleaned and dressed according to your doctor’s orders.

smartPAC by Advanced Tissue can help you follow the prescribed treatment plan by packaging your wound care supplies with clear step-by-step video instructions and single-dose dressing packets.