We all know it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Unfortunately, this principle extends beyond chocolate and red wine into certain aspects of wound healing. Although we are taught that inflammation is an essential phase of the wound healing process, an excessive inflammatory response can actually slow wound healing, leaving patients with a non-healing or chronic wound.
A disproportionate inflammatory response is often a sign of an infection in the wound. The term ‘infection’ implies more than the mere presence of microbes (‘colonization’), but indicates a particularly high and multiplying concentration of microbes in the wound. Infection greatly inhibits wound healing, prolonging the inflammation phase, promoting wound dehiscence, and ultimately increasing scarring.
Signs of Wound Infection
The signs of wound infection are similar to the classic signs noticeable during the normal inflammatory phase of wound healing, namely swelling, redness, warmth, pain, and decreased function. However, when a wound is infected, these signs are greatly exaggerated and completely disproportionate to the size and extent of the wound. In deeper wound infections, systematic signs such as extensive erythema, elevated body temperature, and elevated white blood cell count may be evident.
Necessity of Urgency
Wound infections must be identified promptly and dealt with rapidly to allow the wound to continue on its path to healing. A large number of antimicrobial creams and dressings are available on the market designed to eradicate infection in a wound. Whichever is the preferred option, it is important that action is taken immediately because the longer an infection is left, the more difficult it is to deal with.
Challenges of Wound Infections
It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate a ‘good’ inflammatory response from a ‘bad’ one. To learn more about current evidence-based practices for identifying and managing infected wounds, as well as many other aspects of wound management, consider becoming wound certified. Wound certification is a great way to refresh existing knowledge, learn more about recent developments, and demonstrate a commitment to the discipline of wound management.
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Interested in learning more about wound care and certification? Browse through our wound care certification courses for information on our comprehensive range of education options to suit healthcare professionals across the full spectrum of qualifications and experience.