ZocdocAnswersAt what point with flesh eating bacteria will different symptoms present themselves?

Question

At what point with flesh eating bacteria will different symptoms present themselves?

This morning around 11:30 I realized that I had somehow taken a layer of skin off my hand. Now, 10:30 pm, the area still hurts (though I would say not excessively so). When I was able to clean it with hydrogen peroxide, about an hour ago, I noticed that about half an inch on all sides are red. I know it's nothing too serious (and since I have no other medical conditions I doubt it would be the very-rare flesh eating bacteria), but if it is an infection (even mild), at what point should I see a doctor?

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have injured yourself. As most of us do this to some degree on a varying basis, it is important to understand the signs that indicate the need to speak with a doctor. First and foremost, if you have concerns about a skin (or any other kind of) infection, please speak to your doctor or another physician in person immediately. Now, in general, the symptoms of infection are warmth, redness, loss of function, swelling, and pain, which are all signs of inflammation or evidence that the body is fighting something. Your own medical history can change this, however, as some people with weakened immune systems may not experience any or all of these symptoms. If you are having increasing redness around a wounded area, the spread of the redness is important. While some local irritation, swelling, and redness can be normal, once this begins to spread it could be concerning. Certainly any pus or drainage is cause for alarm and a visit to a doctor. If you are unable to use a body part, this is even more urgent, and fevers, chills, etc would be even more so. As I am unable to personally assess your current condition, please speak with a doctor in person.

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

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