How to Prevent Cuts From Getting Infected

If you don't take care of a cut properly, you are at risk for several wound infections.
If you don't take care of a cut properly, you are at risk for several wound infections.
John Molloy/Getty Images

A battle occurs in your body every time you get a wound. Harmful germs face off against your body's defenders -- the white blood cells. When the attacking germs get the upper hand, a mild cut can turn into a more sinister infection. In this article, we will discuss three different types of wound infections: abscesses, cellulitis, and lymphangitis. Here's a preview:

  • Preventing Abscesses Skin and tooth abscesses happen when the body is fighting off an infection -- a pocket of pus forms around the infection site, creating the abscess. This can be treated by antibiotics or by lancing and draining the pus. Good hygiene is key to warding off abscesses, wherever they might be.
  • Preventing Cellulitis If you have a cut, burn, or other break in your skin, you could be at risk for cellulitis. This infection occurs when bacteria finds it way into the skin through a wound or skin condition. The infected area can swell, turn red, and become tender and painful. Cellulitis is generally treated with antibiotics and causes no long-term complications.
  • Preventing LymphangitisLymphangitis occurs when bacteria infect the lymphatic vessels and make their way to the lymph nodes. Lymphangitis is usually a complication related to a skin abscess or cellulitis. Symptoms of lymphangitis can include chills, fever, rapid heartbeat, headache, and red streaks at the infected area.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.