How to Recognise an Infection Early

A person who undergoes surgery will need to have several abilities in order to recover completely as well as to recover without complications. One of these abilities is to detect an impending infective process, early. Not only will it help the patient recover early, but by avoiding a full blown infection, it will prevent the surgical wounds from getting complicated and sometimes weaker when compared to a clean and a non complicated wound.

This article hopes to give its readers the ability to detect such infections early and seek medical attention at the appropriate time rather than waiting till the complications have developed.

When considering surgical wound infections, there can be primary infections and secondary infections. Primary infections would be the infections occurring intrinsically due to existing infective focus at the time of the surgery or else due to contamination during the process. Secondary infection would be an acquired one occurring later in time but still while the wound is at its recovering phase.

Out of these wound infections, some of the infections will be localized to the scar site or else within the body and some might be ‘systemic infections’. Thus, they will present differently and in many instances will cause the patients to suffer variably.

In order to identify such infections, a patient can keep an eye on the following signs and symptoms.

Local signs:

* Redness around the wound: Although mild redness around the wound will be a normal finding soon after the surgical process, it should disappear within few days and should not cause any symptoms unless excessive trauma has been caused to the site.

* Swelling around the wounds

* Pain and tenderness which is persisting

* Continuous discharge occurring at the wound site

* Foul smell from the wound site

* Separation of the wound edges or the wound giving in

* Yellow green surface on the wound

* Comparatively more warmth around the wound

Systemic signs:

* Fever: depending on the nature of infection and the organism, the appearance of the fever can be different and in instances the fever can be associated with chills and rigors as well.

* Lethargic

* Nausea and vomiting

* Lymph node swelling: the swelling will be in-relation to the infected site and rarely would it be a generalized event.

If these signs and symptoms are identified early, a patient should seek medical attention urgently and prevent any further complications and delays in the recovery process. But, in certain instances, at the time of detection, the infections might have already disrupted the surgical wounds and it would not be easy to treat unless the wound is opened up for a second time.