The skin is the body’s barrier against attack. However, anytime the skin is penetrated, even a small scratch, there is the risk of disease-causing agents to enter the body. Although the immune system is excellent at fending off most attacks, sometimes the body can’t win. That’s when infection occurs.
You may be wondering, “But what are the signs and symptoms of a skin infection?” We have outlined a few of the most common signifiers below:
The most common sign of an infection is pain. This results from inflammation causing pressure on nerve endings, which the brain interprets as pain. As the body wages battle against the infection, this inflammation appears as white blood cells try to get the situation under control.
As the body tries to get rid of pathogens, it raises its internal temperature, causing fever. This is because many disease-causing agents can’t survive these higher temperatures. Any fever above 100° F is considered a sign of trouble, and this temperature can get even higher with more severe infections.
As the body fights the infection, white blood cell counts rise. When they die, they accumulate into a whitish ooze called pus. If the pus doesn’t subside after a few days, a trip to the ER might be in the cards.
A reddening of the area of infected skin is extremely common. This is a sign of both increased blood flood and inflammation. This redness usually accompanies swelling, but can indicate that the infection is spreading. It’s not a good sign. Get to a doctor as soon as possible.
If your wound does not seem to heal within a week, there is a chance that it is infected. The body might be too busy fighting the infection to focus on knitting the wound close. Worse, if the wound doesn’t heal quickly, there’s a risk of even more infection. There may also be a foul smell accompanying the wound.
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, see a doctor at Altus Emergency Center right away.