Inflammation develops as a normal protective response of the
immune system when body tissue is irritated for any
reason. When tissue is irritated, the immune system increases blood flow to the
area, causing localized swelling, warmth, and redness. Swelling may put
pressure on nerve endings, causing pain in the area. Inflammation, caused by
overuse of a body area or with minor injuries, may occur in joints or
extremities. Symptoms of inflammation may be present in conditions, such as
Pain, redness, and swelling that occur with red streaking, heat,
fever, or pus-like drainage can be symptoms of an infection. An infection often
causes tenderness to the touch or pain with movement at the site of the
infection. The redness and swelling of an infection often "spreads" and tends
to move toward the center of the body.
Although infections can occur without an injury, most infections
develop when bacteria enter cut, punctured, or scraped skin. Infection can
develop after an injury or wound to the skin or mucous membranes (such as the
inside of the nose or mouth), a bite or sting, a tattoo or piercing, or other
skin problems. Symptoms of infection may include:
Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth
around the affected area.
If you clean and care for your skin wound, you will reduce your
chances of developing a skin infection.
Certain diseases may increase your risk for a serious infection.
peripheral arterial disease, or an impaired immune
system may require medical treatment at the first symptoms of infection.
Certain areas of the body, such as the mouth, the genital and anal
area (perineum), skin folds, and the web spaces between the toes, have greater
amounts of normal skin bacteria. Cuts in these areas are more likely to become
Prompt medical treatment of an infection can prevent serious
Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Primary Medical Reviewer
William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
February 19, 2009
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 19, 2009
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