Our body has the ability to fight invasions, heal broken bones, and regenerate new skin. Did you know that your body begins to recover within minutes after an injury?
However, not every wound is the same. Some heal quickly and without complications, while others take longer to heal or become infected as bacteria and germs are easy to grow. So how can you tell if a wound is healing or infected?
There are several signs that indicate whether a wound is healing or has become infected.
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Signs of Healing
There are many signs that a wound is healing, including decreased pain and swelling at the affected area, improved range of motion, and improvement in function. If you notice any of these signs, it is likely that your wound is on the path to healing.
However, if you are concerned about your wound or suspect that it may have become infected, talk to your healthcare provider for advice on how to treat it.
One of the most obvious signs that a wound is healing is that it starts to show signs of shrinking. This can be observed in several ways, including a decrease in swelling, redness, and bruising around the affected area. In addition, any pain or tenderness will often subside as the wound heals. Additionally, if you touch the wound, it should feel less warm than the surrounding skin.
2. Presence of New Skin
Another sign that a wound is healing is the formation of new, healthy skin at the edges of the affected area. This can be observed with the naked eye and often results in a scab or crust forming over the wound as it begins to heal from the inside out.
3. Scabs or Crusts Form
As the wound begins to heal, it will often produce a scab or crust. These are an important part of the wound healing process, as they protect the new skin from infection and bacteria. Once a scab has formed, do not attempt to remove it before allowing it to fall off on its own.
Swelling in the affected area indicates that your immune system is working to heal your wound. This swelling tends to decrease over time as the wound heals.
While not always a visible sign, scarring is a normal part of the wound healing process. Scars form as the body produces new collagen to repair the damage caused by the injury. While they may be permanent, most scars will fade over time.
Signs of Infection
If you experience any of these signs, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. An infection can quickly become serious if left untreated, so it is important to get the proper treatment as soon as possible.
1. Increased Pain or Tenderness
One of the most common signs of an infected wound is increasing pain. This pain can be dull or throbbing and is often accompanied by tenderness, redness, and warmth in the affected area.
2. Redness and Warmth
As the infection begins to spread, you may notice that the affected area becomes redder and warmer than the surrounding skin. This is due to increased blood flow as the body tries to fight off infection.
3. A Foul Odor Near the Cut
If a wound begins to produce an unpleasant odor, this indicates the presence of bacteria and germs. This smell, which may be described as pungent or foul, is caused by compounds that are released by an infection.
4. Pus or Discharge
In some cases, a wound may produce pus or discharge that can be observed around the edges of the affected area. This is typically a sign of an infection and should be monitored closely by your doctor.
If you develop a fever, it may be an indication that the infection has spread throughout your body. If this occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately.
In order to avoid infection, it is important to keep the wound clean and free of bacteria.
If you notice any healing signs, your wound is likely healing and not infected. However, it is still important to seek medical attention if the affected area does not show signs of improvement or develop infection signs.