What are the signs of an incision infection?

It’s common for an incision to hurt to the touch after surgery, but if the pain gets worse and the swelling increases, it could be indicative of an infection in the incision.

After a surgical procedure, it is very important to frequently check the incision for signs of infection, which can cause illness or even death if it spreads throughout the system. The most common signs and symptoms of an incision infection are increased swelling and redness, warmth to the touch, and drainage of pus. The pain will likely also increase with an infection. Two of the signs that the incision infection is spreading are fever and general fatigue, as well as red streaks spreading out from the incision site. If this occurs, immediate emergency treatment with antibiotics is needed.

Patients who spend a lot of time in the hospital after surgical procedures are at greater risk of developing staph infections.

After surgery, it is common and normal for the incision to be painful to the touch – although it is important to avoid touching it as much as possible to avoid introducing bacteria into the wound – and slightly swollen and red. These symptoms should begin to subside quickly, though, and should never get worse. If the incision is getting more and more painful, if the redness is increasing, or if it is getting more swollen or even difficult to touch, this could indicate an infection. Under normal circumstances, an incision will also not be much hotter than the skin around it; however, an infected incision is often quite warm to the touch.

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Sterile adhesive bandages are used to prevent infections.

Another common sign of an incision infection is pus or discharge from the wound, usually yellowish or greenish in color. An incision should normally be clean and dry after the first day or so, but if that’s not the case, chances are it’s getting infected. If any of these symptoms occur, it is important to notify the surgeon as soon as possible; he will likely prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection before it becomes systemic. Signs of a systemic infection, or one that is at risk of becoming one, are also extremely important to recognize.

Virtually any surgical incision can become infected or heal abnormally.

An incision infection that is spreading usually has red streaks spreading outward. This indicates that the infection is entering the bloodstream, which is quite dangerous. In addition, fever and a general feeling of fatigue often accompany this type of infection as well. If this occurs, it is important not to wait, but to seek emergency medical attention immediately. Usually, intravenous (IV) antibiotics are needed to treat it. If a systemic infection is not treated immediately, it can quickly become fatal.

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