It used to be that a serious wound inevitably led to infection and associated complications – in the American Civil War, for instance, most who died early on died from infection and its complications.
Infection was the reason doctors amputated limbs when a soldier was shot – the risk of infection was not “if” but “when,” but amputation and cauterization reduced that risk dramatically.
That is why you must follow this guide to infection and take action immediately if you contract an infection.
How do you know if a wound is infected?
• Discoloration. Healthy wounds are the color of red meat, while infected wounds may have streaks of pale whiteness or deeper redness.
• Inflammation. The body reacts to the overwhelming bacterial presence by slowing bloodflow and swelling the area. You may also feel heat and tenderness.
• Sudden fever or other symptoms. If the infection begins to spread the body may attempt to increases the inner temperature in order to kill the bacteria with increased heat.
• Red streaks in the skin around the wound. This is a very serious symptom and indicative of the infection spreading powerfully through the body.
• Green or yellowish pus. Sometimes the body tries to collect the bacteria in an abscess full of pus that will need to be drained.
How to treat an infection
In an emergency situation you don’t necessarily have to begin by pumping in the antibiotics in order to deal with an infection, though you should have some ready to go just in case. In the event that your medicines are limited, you may be better off carefully cleaning the wound with an antiseptic solution first to see if you can bring the population low enough for the natural defenses to finish off the remaining bacteria.
If the conditions do not improve within a few days, you will need to administer antibiotics in order to knock it out.
If faced with a survival situation, infection is one danger that can make your making it out very difficult if not impossible. It is critical that you have an adequate stock of infection fighting first aid tools and address an infection immediately.
To learn more about infections and how to treat them, please visit Prepared for That.