Wound Infection

Introduction

The main risk associated with improper wound care is infection. The skin is a protective barrier to bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Therefore, a cut or wound exposes the skin to these microorganisms, increasing the risk of infection. Below is an analysis of a case study about a 42-year-old man who comes to the clinic with a chief complaint of pain, redness and swelling of his right calf. The reason for this is that a string trimmer slipped and cut his leg. The symptoms are consistent with a wound infection, as supported by the evidence of improper cleaning of the wound. Wounds require proper and definitive care.

Summary

Generally, the symptoms comprising pain, redness, swelling and a fever of 100.6 degrees F, which the patient presents, result from wound infection (Desmond, Fletcher & Warrier, 2019). The wound infection is possibly caused by the Staphylococci bacteria, which reside on human skin (Serra, Grande, Butrico & Rossi, et al., 2015). Particularly, the fever is due to the response of the immune system towards the infection. Also, the redness and swelling of the patient’s calf have respectively resulted from increased blood flow and movement of fluids carrying white blood cells into the wounded area. The staphylococci bacteria are harbored in such habitats as plants and soil, which creates a greater risk of their presence in the string trimmer.

Having entered the wound, the staphylococcus aureus was able to survive because the patient did not use any antiseptic or soap in cleaning the cut. Besides, the water from the garden hose may have been contaminated with infections, further supporting the bacteria’s survival. As if that is not enough, the patient went ahead to cover the wound with a large Band-Aid which again acted as a trap for the bacteria to remain on the wound surface. Staphylococci are microorganisms that reside on the human skin, and therefore, covering a wound facilitates their growth, leading to an infection. There are genes that may be associated with the development of wound infection. One of the major genetic variations that increase susceptibility to the disease is the Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) (Lee, Hopf & Cannon‐Albright, 2013). Research proves a genetic predisposition to acquiring wound infection, thus demanding specialized medication for specific genotypes.

Immunosuppression and the Effect it has on Body Systems

The human body’s immune system is able to fight infections and diseases naturally. Suppression of this ability is what is referred to as immunosuppression. Immunosuppression could result from existing diseases or deliberate through induction by drugs, which have various effects on body systems (Singh, Young & McNaught, 2017). Specifically, the human body would naturally send immune cells such as neutrophils to the wounded area in the wound healing process. The body then coordinates the wound healing process by activating and generating relevant cells, including monocytes and macrophages. Now, immunosuppression slows down the wound healing process by preventing these cells from getting to the wound. It also causes hypothermia which disrupts wound healing. Patients who have their immune system suppressed or compromised are at a greater risk of wound infection.

References

Desmond, L. N., Fletcher, M. B., & Warrier, R. P. (2019). Fever and Leg Pain: Consider ALL the DiagnosesOchsner Journal19(3), 260-263.

Lee, J. P., Hopf, H. W., & Cannon‐Albright, L. A. (2013). Empiric evidence for a genetic contribution to predisposition to surgical site infection. Wound Repair and Regeneration21(2), 211-215.

Serra, R., Grande, R., Butrico, L., Rossi, A., Settimio, U. F., Caroleo, B., … & de Franciscis, S. (2015). Chronic wound infections: the role of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureusExpert review of anti-infective therapy13(5), 605-613.

Singh, S., Young, A., & McNaught, C. E. (2017). The physiology of wound healingSurgery (Oxford)35(9), 473-477.