Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic

How to Prevent a Wound From Becoming Infected

Mar 02, 2024
How to Prevent a Wound From Becoming Infected
Following some simple steps can reduce the chances of getting an infection. If you think you have an infection, seek medical guidance rather than trying to heal it on your own.

When you get a wound, keeping it free from bacteria and other infections is one of the most crucial things you can do. Ignoring wounds can lead to serious infections, but there are practical steps you can take to keep your wound healthy as it heals.

Here at Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic, certified family nurse practitioner Yaminah Matthews, APRN, FNP-C, and the rest of our team offer comprehensive primary care to patients in the Waxahachie, TX, community. Our team can help you protect your wound from infection. The sooner you start taking steps to prevent infection the better. Read on to learn some steps you can take immediately to keep your wound safe.

Caring for your wound at home

If a wound appears to be deeper than half an inch, bleeds heavily and doesn't stop for 20 minutes or more, or is wide and has gaping edges, you should always get medical attention.

Otherwise, follow these measures to lessen the risk of infection, regardless of the type of wound—laceration, abrasion, or puncture:

  • Wash your hands
  • Cover the cut with a clean cloth
  • Apply pressure
  • Clean wound and pat dry
  • Inspect the injury 
  • Clean the area surrounding the wound
  • Apply a thin coat of antibiotic ointment
  • Cover wound with clean gauze
  • Replace the bandage every 24 hours
  • Observe the wound for any indications of infection

Puncture wounds, particularly those that are deep, are from an animal bite, or are caused by a nail or other metal object, are more likely to become infected and may need to be treated by a physician.

A tetanus booster shot is also necessary and needs to be received within 48 hours after the injury.

What are chronic wounds?

When a wound doesn't heal or doesn't get better in 30 days it's considered chronic.

Types of chronic wounds include those frequently linked with underlying vascular disease that affects your circulatory health or diseases like diabetes that hinder healing such as:

  • Wounds from surgery
  • Diabetes-related foot ulcers
  • Chronic venous insufficiency-related ulcers
  • Pressure ulcers (from prolonged bed rest)

Keep in mind that wound healing can also be hampered by bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatment, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Treating chronic wounds

Our team may suggest one or more in-office therapies for chronic wound care, depending on the kind of wound and the underlying reason. These treatments may include:

  • Skin grafting
  • Advanced dressings
  • Negative pressure wound therapy (GPWT)
  • Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT)
  • Debridement
  • Surgical wound closure
  • Vacuum-assisted wound closure (VAC)

In addition, you can contribute to the effectiveness of therapy for chronic wounds by carefully adhering to the home care recommendations that our team gives you during your appointments.

If your immune system is compromised or you have a condition that puts you at a greater risk of chronic wounds it's crucial to work closely with our team. Doing so can help to reduce the risk of serious complications. 

For expert wound care, give us a call to request an appointment. We offer in-person, and telehealth appointments.