Hesperian Health Guides
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Any wound can become infected.
Signs of infection
The wound is infected if it:
- becomes swollen, red, and hot
- has pus
- begins to smell bad
The infection is spreading to other parts of the body if:
- it causes fever
- the lymph nodes become swollen and tender
|Lymph nodes — often called ‘glands’ — are little traps for germs that form small lumps under the skin when they get infected. Swollen lymph nodes mean infection.
Below the jaw means infection of the teeth or throat.
Behind the ear means an infection on the head or scalp, often caused by sores or lice. Or German measles (rubella) may be the cause.
Below the ear and on the neck means infection of the ear, face, or head. Or
it could be tuberculosis.
In the armpit means an infection of the arm, head, or breast. Or sometimes breast cancer.
In the groin means an infection of
the leg, foot, genitals, or anus.
Treatment for infection
Clean the wound well. You may need to open up an abscess or remove stitches. For more on abscesses see Problems with Skin (in development). Unless the infected area is small and getting better fast, it is usually wise to give antibiotics. Give dicloxacillin, cephalexin, OR clindamycin. If the wound is deep, give a tetanus vaccination (see Vaccines – in development) and tetanus immunoglobulin.
If the infection does not get better, it can spread through the blood. This is called sepsis.