Signs Your Cut Is Infected

Everyone gets a cut from time to time. They're usually harmless and heal on their own. However, when harmful germs make their way into a cut, it can become infected (via Healthline). There are some simple ways to tell whether or not a cut is infected. For example, uninfected cuts will gradually get better, and with time, heal entirely. An infected cut, on the other hand, becomes progressively more painful and doesn't show any signs of visible improvement. 

In addition to pain, symptoms of an infected cut include redness, swelling, and warmth to the touch. The cut may also ooze pus. If the redness spreads to other areas of the body, and you experience aches, pains, or fever, you should seek medical care right away. These are signs the infection may have spread, which can lead to dangerous complications like cellulitis, impetigo, and sepsis if not treated properly. In very rare cases, a condition called necrotising fasciitis, or "flesh-eating disease," can occur. This condition is fast moving and leads to death of tissues in the body (via WebMD). If not treated, it can be deadly.

How to treat an infected cut

If immediate medical attention is not required, you may be able to treat an infected cut at home. You'll first want to wash your hands and make sure any tools being used, such as tweezers, are sanitized (via Medical News Today). Next, run the cut under warm water for several minutes and clean the skin with soap and water. Use tweezers or a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris from the cut. You can then apply an antiseptic ointment to the area before covering it with a bandage. Make sure to allow the skin to thoroughly dry before doing so.

Moving forward, gently wash the cut and change the dressing daily, especially when it gets wet or soiled. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or iodine on the cut, as these substances may cause irritation. If it's been a couple of days and there is no sign of improvement or the cut is getting worse, call your doctor for further diagnosis and treatment instruction.