Caring for an Infected Wound

Caring for an Infected Wound

Wound infection is a leading cause of slow-healing or chronic wounds, a significant source of disability in the United States. Some people are at higher risk of developing a chronic wound, but any break in the skin is vulnerable to infection.

Frontier Medical Care in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York, offers advanced care for infected and chronic wounds. The team, led by vascular surgeon Dr. Farouk Marzouk, explains steps you can take at home and specialty care for treating wound infections.

Start wound care before the infection starts

Most minor cuts or abrasions respond well to a thorough cleansing with warm, soapy water and perhaps a band-aid or other dressing to keep the area clean as it heals.

Wash the wound immediately and rinse away any debris. Allow the area to dry before applying a dressing. Check daily and change the dressing whenever it gets wet or dirty.

You may also apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection. However, avoid overuse since this can soften wound edges and stall healing.

Learn your risk factors for wound infection 

Certain factors increase your risk of wound infection, including:

Wounds that contain foreign objects such as glass, metal, or gravel are also more susceptible to infection.

Monitor wounds carefully for unusual redness, warmth, or other signs of infection, but consider seeing your doctor sooner rather than later for specialty wound care if you’re at increased risk of infection.

When to see the doctor for a wound

The Frontier Medical Care team recommends seeing your doctor for large or deep wounds, especially those with jagged edges. Also, schedule a visit if the wound edges gap or don’t stay together since this creates easier access for infection-fueling bacteria.

Injuries that require medical treatment include animal bites, those caused by dirty or rusty objects, and wounds that contain debris you can’t remove.

Otherwise, check with your doctor if a wound doesn’t appear to be healing within a couple of days or if you notice signs of infection, which may develop quickly or several days after the injury.

Seek urgent medical care if you develop signs of systemic or spreading infection, which include:

A wound infection can spread through your bloodstream and become a life-threatening emergency.

Advanced care for infected wounds

Advanced wound treatment at Frontier Medical Care includes a careful evaluation of your medical history and examination of the wound. 

Dr. Marzouk may also recommend wound cultures to identify the type and nature of the infection, which could be bacterial or fungal. 

Treatment, based on the results of the evaluation, may include:

These therapies are designed to speed healing and, in the case of HBOT, improve oxygen flow to the area, which wounds require to heal. Dr. Marzouk may also recommend treatment for underlying issues such as PAD that impair circulation and thus slow healing.

Don’t delay treatment for an infected or chronic wound. Instead, schedule an evaluation today by calling the Frontier Medical Care office or requesting an appointment online.

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