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Will a severe infection on my hand go away if untreated?

I am 24 and a bike accident caused a gash on my wrist. I cleaned it, I thought, but it seems to be infected and has started to smell. Will it heal on its own?
This sounds quite serious and I strongly suggest that you get this checked out immediately by a doctor. When the integrity of the skin is broken, such as by a cut or gash, this allows bacteria in the dirt and environment get into the wound. These bacteria can set off a serious infection. Some minor cuts do not require medical attention, as they can be simply cleansed out and managed by close observation and by applying antibacterial ointment. However, if you think the area is infected and if it is developing a smell, then those are bad signs that an infection is progressing. Other worrisome signs would be redness, pain, and warm of the skin surrounding the cut and pus emerging from the wound. All of these would be consistent with a degree of infection that you would not be able to manage on your own. If there is rapidly spreading redness and worsening pain, or fever, these are signs that the infection is progressing quite rapidly, and you should go immediately to an emergency room for urgent evaluation and treatment. If the redness is minimal and is not spreading or associated with fever, then you can contact your doctor first for advice.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

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