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Identifying an Infected Injury After an Accident

By Peters & Nolan, LLC on May 20, 2021

Cuts and lacerations come about in many forms. Blunt force trauma. Road rash. Contact with shrapnel like broken glass, or bent and broken vehicle frames. Compound fractures where broken bones push through the skin. Split lacerations, which occur when a part of the body is crushed between two objects, compressing and tearing the skin.

These injuries are common after car crashes, motorcycle collisions, and many other accidents. But they also have an added danger: with an open wound in the skin, harmful bacteria can enter the body, leading to a potentially serious infection.

After you have suffered a severe laceration, it is crucial to be on alert for the symptoms of infection.

Symptoms of Infection With Lacerations

The skin is the body’s first defense against infections. A laceration that breaks the skin opens the door for bacteria to enter the body. Symptoms of an infected wound include:

  • Swelling or warmth in the area
  • Pain or tenderness at or around the site
  • Redness in the wound area, particularly in red streaks
  • Pus in or around the wound
  • Unpleasant odor coming from the wound
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the armpits, groin, or neck
  • Delayed healing of the wound

General signs of a bacterial infection in the body may also include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

What Makes Infections So Dangerous?

When bacteria enter the body, they begin to reproduce and multiply. Although some bacteria are beneficial, the wrong type or wrong placement of bacteria can cause disease. For example, your gut couldn’t function without its bacteria. However, severe abdominal trauma can lead to peritonitis, a life-threatening infection caused by your own gut bacteria invading other systems. Bacterial infections can become serious if left untreated.

Sometimes, an infection that develops from a laceration can lead to a deadly condition known as sepsis, where inflammation spreads through your entire body. This is your body’s extreme response to infection. When sepsis occurs, it is always a medical emergency. People at higher risk for sepsis include:

  • Adults 65 and older
  • Children younger than one year
  • People with diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, and other chronic medical conditions
  • Sepsis survivors
  • People with weakened immune systems

Whose Lacerations Are More Likely to Become Infected?

Lacerations and open wounds are the third most commonly treated injuries in American emergency rooms, accounting for 8% of annual ER visits, as stated in a recent study by Clinical and Experimental Emergency Medicine. Researchers in this study identified factors that increase a person’s risk of infection after a laceration, including:

  • Age
  • Presence of diabetes
  • Jagged wound edges
  • Visible contamination
  • Deep wounds
  • Presence of foreign bodies
  • Wound locations other than the head and neck

What Should You Do If You Suspect a Cut Has Become Infected?

If you notice signs of infection in a wound, get medical attention immediately. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or other treatments to keep the infection from developing into a more serious, or even life-threatening condition. If a serious infection has developed from a laceration you sustained in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may want to speak with an attorney concerning your options under the law.

Our Grand Junction personal injury lawyers at Peters & Nolan, LLC, have more than 20 years of experience in a wide range of accidents. Providing compassionate and aggressive representation, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Call us at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free consultation. We can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.

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Posted in: Car Accidents

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Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.

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