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First Aid/cellulitis in the large toe


QUESTION: On Tuesday, I stepped barefoot on a small dirty medal objective attached to the bottom of an old desk. There was blood and a small puncture wound. I immediately washed the area with soap and warm water. Five days later, my foot area swelled up, was painful to the touch and to walk. I saw my Doctor immediately. I am on an oral antibiotic until Thursday when I re-visit the Doctor. How serious is this? I've attached a photo and my infected area.

ANSWER: Hello Rosemary,

Sorry to hear about your injury. (for some reason I didn't get an attached picture on my end?) anyways, yes... there are a lot of possibilities for infection, who knows what you were lucky enough to inject yourself with. It's good that you have been on antibiotics. I'm sure the infection will clear up as quickly as possible. Since you are already under a doctor's care you should be able to also contact your doctor who knows better that the outcome is likely to be. You're doing everything right, don't worry.

Good luck, get better soon.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you, Marc. here is the pic. How does it look to you?

ANSWER: Hello again Rosemary,

the picture came through that time. Yep, you have a good local infection! (it looks painful) I hope the antibiotics clear it up fast.

Get better soon,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: But, it's not THAT bad, is it? I've seen pictures on the internet much worse. How long will it take to clear up?

Hello again,

Healing time depends on a number of factors including; blood circulation, extent of infection (how the infection has established it's self), the treatment given (antibiotics in your case) and your own immune status. A person with a 20 year history of poorly controlled diabetes and AIDS with a high viral load... you could easily loose the leg, a healthy 17 year old, may recover in a week? The important part is that you are under a doctors care, I'm confident you will heal as quickly as your body will allow. Not knowing your health history I would guess you should start to see improvement in a couple days with major improvement in a week.

Again, get well soon,


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Marcus LaBarbera


I am available to answer most questions related to: first aid, pre- hospital medicine, EMT and Paramedic questions, medical transport, critical care transport, ICU/CCU care, sedation, and medicine in general.


I have worked as a NYS Paramedic since 1993 for both community based ambulance companies and large commercial agencies. I Have experience as bike team commander, and shift supervisor for a commercial ambulance. As a member of the Disaster team I was deployed to Louisiana for 20 days following hurricane Katrina. I worked along side the county Haz-Mat team as a "Tox-Medic" with advanced training in treating injuries from chemical agents. Besides my experience on the on the ambulance I have worked in a number of hospital based offices including dialysis and a sleep lab.

I started my EMS career as a NYS CFR (Certified First Responder)in 1989, an EMT in 1991, a Paramedic since 1993, and a CCU transport paramedic since 2005. I currently hold certification as a: NYS Paramedic, Critical Care Transport Paramedic, ACLS/CPR/PALS certified. Advanced Haz-Mat Life Support certified (AHLS). In the past I have taught CPR and ACLS to my coworkers and the local community.

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