ZocdocAnswersIs there such a thing as blood poisoning?

Question

Is there such a thing as blood poisoning?

I had this bump on my arm that kind of looked like a pimple or a blister and I used a straight pin to pop it. Now it is red and doesn't look good at all, like it is filled with blood. Could I get blood poisoning? Is there such a thing?

Answer

'Blood poisoning' is a kind of generic term that doesn't have a lot of specific medical meaning. Typically the medical term that would be equivalent to 'blood poisoning' would be an infection in the bloodstream by a bacteria. Blood stream infections can be very serious and usually require aggressive medical treatment with antibiotics in order to clear up. Based on the symptoms that you are experiencing, it sound like you might have a skin infection at the site where you tried to pop the bump on your arm. Redness and pain in the skin are the typical symptoms of a skin infection. Most skin infections clear up without much trouble as long as they are minor and do not spread. However, if the redness and pain spread, there is a risk that the infection in your skin could pass into your blood, causing 'blood poisoning.' For this reason I highly recommend that you get in to see your primary care doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to determine if this is a skin infection; if so, they will probably treat you with oral antibiotics. In the meantime, if the redness and pain worsen or spread, you should go the emergency room for immediate treatment, rather than waiting to see your doctor.

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

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