An infected wound is an injury infected with bacteria or other harmful microbes; it occurs when microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi or other parasites) enter the wound. It can affect only the skin and in some cases; it goes deep and affect other tissues and organs close to the wounds.
There are even cases of wound infections after surgeries; this begins to show symptoms 30 days after the surgery and it can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.
They are three main levels or types of wound infections; we have:
- The superficial infection; this type affects only the skin
- Deep infection; this type affects the muscles and tissues below the skin
- Organ or space infection; this type is common with wound infections from surgeries; it affects the organs and space around the area where the surgery was carried out. A surgery that lasts more than 2 hours raises the risk of this type of infection and it is also called surgical site infection (SSI).
Causes of Wound Infection
Below are some of the causes and risk factors for wound infections.
- Poor hygiene (not cleaning and covering the wound properly)
- A weakened or suppressed immune system
- Germs on the skin or from the surroundings
- Infected hands either of the caregiver or patient
- A dirty or contaminated object that caused the wound
- Infected surgical equipment
- Animal Bite
- Germs in the air (that is why wounds must be properly cleaned and covered)
- Uncontrolled or untreated diabetes
Signs and Symptoms of an Infected Wound
The signs of a wound infection are:
- It is painful and the skin surrounding the wound becomes inflamed
- It might release a yellow pus which might have a foul odor
- It will swell and look red
- It becomes more painful and inflamed instead of healing
- The area may be warm or hot
- A high body temperature
- Feeling sick
- Body aches and pains
- As the infection spreads; the inflammation spreads to other areas of the skin.
Complications Caused by an Infected Wound
If left untreated; it can lead to life-threatening conditions like non-healing wounds, cellulitis (a bacterial skin infection), osteomyelitis (a bacterial bone infection; it can be acute or chronic), and infections of other parts if it enters the bloodstream.
Effective Home Remedies for Wound Infections
These remedies below are for mild to moderate infections; those with severe or chronic wound infections should go to the hospital and start proper treatment, they can use these remedies to hasten healing and boost the immune system.
Make Sure the Wound is Cleaned
An infected wound needs to be cleaned regularly and dressed after each cleaning; the doctor should tell you how frequent the cleaning and dressing should be.
Make sure your hands are clean; before you start, wash your hands properly with soap and water. You can use medical hand gloves to prevent further infection.
Remove the old dressing; wet it with warm water if the dressing is sticking to the skin. Use warm water and soap to clean the wound; use a clean piece of cloth, rinse it with enough water when done and pat it gently with a clean cloth to dry.
Apply a new dressing; the doctor might advise you to soak the dressing in saline solution to help disinfect the place, make sure you follow all the doctor’s order.
Wash your hands after dressing the wound and disposing of the old dressing safely. Also, take your antibiotics and other drugs according to prescription.
Allicin, the active compound in garlic, has strong antimicrobial properties; crush few fresh cloves of garlic, expose it to air for ten minutes to activate the Allicin.
Mix the crushed garlic with plain yogurt and apply it topically to the site. It will fight infection and prevent its development and even reduce the need for antibiotics.
This wonderful oil is rich in antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties; it fights infections and treats scarring. Pour 100% pure and unrefined coconut oil on the affected area before applying the dressing. Do this every time you change the dressing.
This herb has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds and wound infections; history recorded that Alexander the great fought and conquered a land off Africa’s coast to have sufficient supply of Aloe vera to treat his wounded soldiers.
It fights infections, relieves inflammation, hydrates the skin and hastens healing. Add fresh aloe vera gel to the site of infection before dressing.
This leaf has a strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial property; it hastens healing and relieves itching and pains. Get few fresh leaves of plantain and crush them into a thick paste; apply this paste on the wound and leave it to dry.
Rinse off with warm water and do this several times daily.
Honey and Neem
This antibacterial mixture is commonly used in Ayurveda medicine to fight wound infections; it is even effective against infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Get a piece of Neem tree bark and boil it; use the decoction to wash the wound using a sterile swab.
Do this every morning; after washing it with the decoction, apply raw honey topically to the wound before applying the dressing. This will hasten healing and prevent and also treat wound infections.
This is a powerful home remedy for an infected wound; it contains glucose oxidase; this enzyme helps to produce hydrogen peroxide which is a potent killer of harmful microbes. Pour organic honey over the wound before dressing.
Onions are powerful fighters against infections due to their strong antimicrobial properties; cut a little onion into half and crush it, apply the juice over the affected part and dress it. Change it every one hour.
This is a common cure for an infected wound in South East Asia; its active compound, Curcumin, has antibacterial properties which treats and fights infections by microbes.
It hastens the healing of wounds by helping in the synthesis of collagen; the protein of the skin and connective tissue that is responsible for their structures.
It also increases cellular proliferation; it increases new cell growth, tensile strength and wound contraction. Crush fresh turmeric and apply the paste to the affected area; you can mix turmeric powder with water and apply the paste to the area.
Potato poultice heals wounds, fights infections and moisturizes the affected skin; grate 1 or more potatoes, depending on the size of the wound. Spread them on a clean cloth and use it to cover the wound.
Leave it for five hours; and then you wash it off with warm water, repeat the whole process and continue daily till you heal.