ZocdocAnswersWhat should I do if I have an infected wound?

Question

What should I do if I have an infected wound?

I got a pretty bad scrape on my elbow and now I?m starting to think it is infected. Its pink around the edges and itches. What should I do for the infected wound?

Answer

Assuming that your wound is only 1-2 days old which is normally still sore and slightly inflamed that gives the edges a reddish look. Besides the above symptoms, do you have any other symptoms such as drainage or fevers? Are there any red streaks going up your arms? Is there any swelling on the fore-arm and hand of the affected side? If any of the above answers is a "yes" you may have a wound infection and should definitely seek help from a physician to have it looked at. Sometimes catching an infected wound early and starting on appropriate antibiotics will decrease significant complications. That said, normally open wounds just require a basic cleaning with either betadine or hydrogen peroxide. If you don't have either one, then just simply use soap and water and do make sure that you rinse out all foreign bodies, Then you should keep the wound open to air as much as possible. In a day or so the wound will start to dry out. The new skin will start to replace it. This wound healing process takes variable amount of time depending on how large and how extensive your wound is. You should definitely go see a primary care physician to make sure that your wound is clean and determine whether or not you need antibiotics.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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