Wound Infection

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

A wound infection is when bacteria enter a break in the skin.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Wound treatment may be very painful and put you at risk for bleeding. You may have an allergic reaction or develop kidney problems with long-term use of strong antibiotics. A scar may form on your skin as it heals. Even with treatment, the infection may not completely heal, or may come back. If left untreated, the infection may spread to other parts of the body. This may lead to loss of a body part or function, and can be life-threatening.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicine:

  • Antibiotics help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling, pain, and fever.

Tests:

  • Blood tests may be done to check for infection.

  • A wound culture is a test of fluid or tissue used to find the cause of your infection.

  • X-rays may be done to look for broken bones, other injuries, or objects stuck in the skin.

  • A CT or MRI scan may be used to take pictures of the bones and tissues in your wound area. They may be done to look for infection or other problems such as a foreign object in your wound. You may be given dye to help the bones and tissues show up better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the caregiver if you have any metal in or on your body.

  • A bone scan is a test that may be done to look for broken bones or infections. A radioactive liquid, called a tracer, is given through an IV. The tracer collects in your bones so problems show up better on the monitor.

Treatment:

  • Cleansing may be done by rinsing the wound with sterile water. Germ-killing solutions may also be used.

  • Debridement is surgery to clean the wound and remove objects, dirt, or dead skin and tissue. Caregivers may cut out the damaged areas in or around the wound. Wet bandages may be placed inside the wound and left to dry. Other wet or dry dressings may also be used. Caregivers may also drain the wound to clean out pus.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Wound Infection (Inpatient Care)

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