Soft Tissue Injuries: #3 Wound Infections


Recognition and Management of Cellulitis:
Monitor the wound site for the initial immune response to the multiplying bacteria.
Signs & Symptoms of a wound infection – cellulitis:
Rubor:  The redness of the skin caused by the vasodilation.
Tumor:  Swelling of the soft tissue by the fluids that are escaping the dilated vasculature.
Dolor:  Pain caused by the swelling in the tissues.
Calor:  Warmth in the tissues from the vasodilation.
As the infection progresses:
Purulence: Pus formation, a collection of white blood cells (WBC’s) 
Lymphangina: red, tender streaks that progress up the extremity as the lymphatics become infected.
Lymphadenopathy: swollen, tender lymph nodes that occur when the infection reaches the lymph nodes proximal to the area of cellulitis.
If the infection reaches the central circulation, via the lymphatic drainage, then septic shock occurs with high fever, shaking rigors, tachycardia, and hypotension.

Hot water soaks of the area of cellulitis with non-scalding hot water and Epsom salts.  
The area of cellulitis should by heat soaked every 4 hours for at least 30 minutes, until the infection has resolved.  
If the infection continues to spread with lymphangina, lymphadenopathy, or purulence, consider an oral antibiotic such as penicillin, erythromycin, or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim).

For more detailed information on wilderness and long-term management of Soft Tissue Injuries see the Jan/Feb 2006 and the March/April 2006 issues of the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter.

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One Response to “Soft Tissue Injuries: #3 Wound Infections”

  1. crazyhook Says:

    I have PTSD and I get by with escort work but the industry isnt nearly as lucrative as it used to be (thanks tinder hos) and I had to move jn to a cheap apt that has bed bugs. Ive had pretty good success treating the problem myself but I still got bit a few more times after the first treatment, one was on my finger and then my entire finger and left side of hand swelled up and was getting just bigger abd bigger. I suspected cellulitis and bought epsom salt for 88 cents at Walmart. By morning it was down 50% and now its almost gone. It even helped reduce other bites that were not infected. Ive no idea how this works, but so glad to have a cheap cure with no anti biotics. Ill now use it as a preventive measure on any new bites. I also love making my own Boric acid suppositories for occasional bv and yeast. So cheap! I dont have insurance so these natural antiseptics really save me a ton of money. Other ppl should use it too so they can avoid the over use of anti biotics.

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