Telltale Signs of an Infected Cut

If you think you have an infected cut, check for these telltale signs.

Do you see red streaks coming from the site of the cut?
If you see streaks radiating from the cut site, you most likely have some kind of an infection. Deep wounds are more prone to infection than shallow wounds, mostly because it is more difficult to clean the depths of a deep wound, leaving bacteria deep inside the wound that is now causing an infection.

Is the area around the cut exceptionally tender to the touch?
While it is normal for the area around a cut to be tender, you should grow concerned if the area becomes more tender over time instead of less tender. If you see other signs of infection accompanying this symptom, see your doctor.

Is the area surrounding the cut swollen?
If the area around the cut becomes more swollen and red than it was initially after the cut was inflicted, you should be concerned.

Do you have a fever of at least 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit?
This is one of the key symptoms of an infection. See the doctor if you develop a fever, even a low-grade fever.

Is the cut weeping pus?
While some oozing of the wound is normal, you'll want to watch for discolored pus, especially if there is a lot of it.

Does the cut itch?
While many healing cuts may itch, a maddening itch is a sign of infection. Try applying extra antibiotic ointment to the itching scab at first, but if the itching persists, see your doctor.

Do you see red boils around the site of the cut?
Perhaps most serious is a staph infection. A staph infection produces raised, red boils that may itch or hurt. Because a staph infection can become quite serious, you will want to see a doctor immediately if you develop these boils around a cut site.

If you suspect your cut is infected, see your doctor as soon as possible. You may need topical or oral antibiotics. While the antibiotic ointments sold over-the-counter are very helpful, your doctor may have stronger antibiotic ointment to prescribe you that will fight your infection. Some infections respond only to certain drugs, so your doctor will be able to determine exactly what kind of an infect you have and what should be done about it.

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