How to Prevent Infection in Wounds

Clean and Treat Cuts Right Away - It is the Most Effective Way to Prevent Infections

If you have had a tetanus shot, and you clean and treat your injuries right away, they should heal on their own.  If they don't and you see signs of infections, see a doctor right away.
If you have had a tetanus shot, and you clean and treat your injuries right away, they should heal on their own. If they don't and you see signs of infections, see a doctor right away. | Source

Prevent Minor Injuries from Becoming Infections

Whenever you have an injury that breaks the skin, such as a cut, gash or puncture wound, you are in danger of having it become infected. If this happens, the wound will become swollen and red, and might even get warm or throb with pain. Sometimes there is pus. Left untreated, you could develop a fever and become seriously ill. In extreme cases, red streaks could even shoot up the skin on your body towards your heart. Infections are serious, and should be avoided whenever possible. So, how do we prevent this from happening?

The first and most important thing you should do when injured is to wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Nearly any soap will remove the dangerous bacteria. Make sure you remove any visible dirt. Soak the wound in water for a few minutes, if necessary, to remove any loose dirt. This action is so simple, and yet many people look at a minor cut or scratch and tell themselves “it will be OK.” Neglecting to wash a wound is a common reason for it to become infected.

Second, although some people like to pour alcohol or hydrogen peroxide over a wound, it is usually not necessary. Antibiotic ointments (such as Neosporin) will help kill most remaining germs. Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can sometimes even do further damage to the injured area. If you have washed the injury thoroughly, an antibiotic ointment is the gentlest and safest way to give yourself additional protection from infection. Remember, the most important action you have already taken was to thoroughly wash the injury.

Unless you have a compromised immune system, your body should be perfectly capable of healing most minor injuries. However, if your immune system is compromised or you happen to get exposed to a "super-bug," you will need to see a doctor and get antibiotics. In some extreme cases, it could save your life.

Keep a First Aid Kit Handy to Treat Wounds

Small First Aid Kit 100 Piece: Car, Home, Survival
Small First Aid Kit 100 Piece: Car, Home, Survival

Everyone needs a First-Aid kit. You should have one in your home, your car and with your camping equipment. Make sure it has the materials you will need to clean an injury and prevent infection.

 

Get a Tetanus Immunization

Long before you are ever injured, you should have had a tetanus immunization. In fact, as a precaution, try to make sure that your tetanus immunization is updated every 5 to 10 years. This will protect you against this very serious illness, when you are injured.

Notice that I said “when you are injured.” Virtually every human being is going to be cut, scratched or injured at some point. Keeping your tetanus immunization up-to-date is a sensible way to take care of your heath.

The next time you have a physical examination, ask your doctor about updating your tetanus shot. When you are injured, you are much less likely to develop a serious problem, especially if you take the time to clean and treat the injury.

Buy This Pack of Four Antibiotic Creams - Keep Them at Home, in Your Boat, Your Car, Camper, Etc.

Neosporin Plus Pain Relief First Aid Antibiotic/Pain Relieving Cream, Maximum Strength 0.5-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 4)
Neosporin Plus Pain Relief First Aid Antibiotic/Pain Relieving Cream, Maximum Strength 0.5-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 4)

Antibiotic cream is one of the best ways to treat an injury ... once you have carefully cleaned it.

 

When to See a Doctor

If, despite all your best efforts, you still see signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pus, or streaking on the skin, continue to keep the injured area clean and apply antibiotic ointment regularly.

If the infection does not improve within a day or two, gets worse, or you develop a fever, seek medical attention quickly. At this point, it is likely that you will need antibiotics to cure the infection. You may even have picked up a serious infection that could require more drastic medical intervention, even hospitalization. In fact, you could even die or lose a limb if you do not get help. A doctor can determine the best course of action.

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Comments 19 comments

davenstan profile image

davenstan 4 years ago

I have used colloidal silver as an antiseptic for wounds. It doesn't hurt or eat away at the good skin like hydrogen peroxide does. I have used hydrogen peroxide on a wound before and it just made the wound open more. Great hub! Voted up!


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Thank you. I have heard of colloidal silver, but never used it myself. It certainly sounds like it is worth trying. I've found antibiotic creams are gentle too, especially for children.


kj force profile image

kj force 4 years ago from Florida

Informative Hub..kudos..Are you aware that there are many things in your kitchen for a cut or burn ? Apple cider vinegar is an excellent antiseptic for cuts and scrapes( even ear infections)..while yellow mustard put on any burn immediately will relieve pain and no scar.

Trust me this was a treatment even 40 years ago.Keep up the helpful Hubs...


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I didn't realize that you needed the tetanus shot every few years. My doctor enlightened me and gave me one during my physical. But your article confirms its benefit. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Marketing Merit profile image

Marketing Merit 4 years ago from United Kingdom

I would also like to emphasise the importance of keeping your tetanus jabs up to date. So many people overlook this.

I suffered a nasty injury to my hand and was told that the location was a high risk area to develop lockjaw.

Fortunately, I had visited Africa some months earlier and had my tetanus booster shot then. Prior to this, I had not had the tetanus jab since my teens, some 20+ years earlier!

I was very lucky and would urge everyone not to be complacent about keeping your tetanus immunization up to date.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to keep our tetanus immunization up to date. Tetanus is a dangerous disease that is easily prevented.


ratnaveera profile image

ratnaveera 4 years ago from Cumbum

Really useful information to heal wounds from getting infected. Even today many people are being careless in this matter and make it very serious problem. Thank you so much for publishing this useful Hub! Deborah-Diane.


TroyM profile image

TroyM 4 years ago

Informative Hub. Useful points regarding first aid and prevention. Thanks for sharing your ideas!


Bake Like a Pro profile image

Bake Like a Pro 3 years ago

Great article Diane. Good thing I got my tetanus shot as part of a new patient package. I also enjoyed reading the comments made by others. I am curious to try apple cider and mustard remedy. I had never heard of them. Thank you for sharing this article. Voted up and pinned.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Thank you so much "Bake Like a Pro!" I hope these suggestions keep you, or anyone you care about, from getting an infection!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Very useful information. Voted up.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

I'm glad you found this information useful. It seems basic. However, just this week one of the teenage boys at the high school where I work developed a serious infection in his foot because he failed to properly clean and care for a cut on his foot.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

It's surprising how many people don't' know what to do when they get a cut or a scratch. Good advice and instruction. Voted up & useful.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

In addition to not knowing what to do when they get a cut or scratch, I am amazed at how many people, mostly men, will ignore injuries. I can't tell you how often I have seen someone cut themselves, suck on the injury for a minute, shrug and say "it will be fine." Unfortunately, it isn't always fine, and they could be endangering their overall health by not taking a few minutes to treat it correctly. Thanks for the vote!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

It's interesting that once the wound has been washed, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide can actually cause damage! That was my father's old standby for first aid, but I certainly won't follow that pattern now that I've read this information. We always keep antibiotic ointment in the medicine cabinet so that will be our new gold standard of wound treatment. Thank you for sharing this useful information.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Vespawoolf - I'm glad you found this info handy. Yes, I was surprised, too, that alcohol and hydrogen peroxide could do more harm than good. Good old soap, water and Neosporin can do the trick for most minor injuries.


ezzly profile image

ezzly 22 months ago

Thanks for this very helpful article ! My mother cut herself washing dishes before and she ignored it, after some days a line from the cute was going up her arm, an infection from the cut was traveling to her heart ! It was blood poisoning but luckily she got antibiotics. Voted up !


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 22 months ago from Orange County, California Author

Ezzly - I'm so glad that your mother got antibiotics when she got blood poisoning. I hope this article helps a lot of people prevent infections in their wounds. They can be more dangerous than a lot of people realize.


ezzly profile image

ezzly 22 months ago

Absolutely agree , thanks for highlighting it and helping to keep more people safe !

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