Cuts and wounds, even when they seem small, superficial and do not require stitches, could lead to serious consequences if not treated properly, especially when it becomes infected with bacteria such as staphylococci or streptococci.

While it is important for patients to recognize cases of infected wounds, we discussed this with Dr. Stefano Ottolini, who specializes in emergency medicine at Humanitas.

Symptoms for recognizing the infection

To understand if a wound is infected, it is necessary to recognize and verify the presence of some symptoms such as swelling, redness, localized heat (the cut, in fact, is warmer than the surrounding areas) and the presence of pus.

In the most serious cases, the infection that is limited to the wound spreads to the whole body, becoming systemic and also causing fever. Nausea and diarrhea can also be indicators of the spread of infection from localized injury to other systems of the body, primarily the gastrointestinal system.

The first thing to do in these cases is to keep the cut clean, disinfect it and cover it with a sterile gauze and an adhesive bandage, a dressing that is to be replaced every day.

Use of antibiotics

When the wounds become infected, in addition to the medication, it is inevitable to seek medical advice to avoid worsening the situation and the spread of the infection. In most of the cases, your doctor will prescribe the use of antibiotics in order to fight the infection and eliminate it.

There are several antibiotics available, which act differently depending on the bacteria to be controlled. In some cases, to understand the most appropriate medication and identify the bacteria that caused the infection, the doctor may swab the wound and send the swab for bacteriological culture tests. If these tests are negative, the antibiotics will not be necessary.