Wound Infections

What Causes Wound Infections?

Wound infections can be caused by a variety of different factors, such as the presence of bacteria, fungus, or viruses on the wound. Poor hygiene when treating the wound, an impaired immune system, or wounds that are slow to heal can also increase the chances of it becoming infected.

Symptoms of Wound Infections

Wound infections can cause the area around the wound to become red, swollen, and tender. Unlike a normal wound, a wound infection can often cause drainage and might have a foul odor. Swollen lymph nodes, fever, and general fatigue can also indicate a wound infection.

Diagnosing Wound Infections

If a wound infection is suspected, a doctor will need to perform a physical examination and laboratory tests, including a white blood cell count or a culture of the wound. If a different type of organism is present, such as a fungus or virus, additional tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treating Wound Infections

Wound infections are treated with antibiotics, antifungal medications, or antiviral medications. In some cases, surgery might be needed to remove infected tissue.

Preventing Wound Infections

Wound infections can be prevented through proper wound care. Keeping the wound clean, disinfecting it, and using topical antibiotics can help to reduce the risk of infection. Avoiding contact with infected people or animals, washing your hands regularly, and practicing good hygiene can also help to prevent infections.

Risk Factors for Wound Infections

Certain factors can increase your risk of developing a wound infection, including the following:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Poor diet
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use
  • Older age
  • Inadequate wound care or hygiene