First Aid/Small cut, big problems?

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Question
3.5-4 hours ago I was at a stagnant pond fishing and catching minnows in the muddy bank.
My right index finger struck a broken glass cup stuck in the murky sediment. I bled a little, not a lot.
The cut went diagonally into palm-side of finger. T
he depth/severity was at least twice that of a "nasty papercut" though.
I ignored the wound since it did not hurt and it did not appear to merit stitching.
I continued catching minnows, fishing, handling bait and pond scum etc for an hour and then showered etc.
After that, I saw that the entire finger was noticeably swollen and the color was a little pinkish. So I soaked the wound in hydrogen peroxide for over 2 minutes (til it stopped burning), applied 2 droplets of iodine, smothered it in Neosporin and applied a bandaid.

The finger has continued swelling, so much so that now the bandaid is needs to be loosened. The entire finger is pink, hot, throbbing like a toothache, and puffy. Theres a mild stabbing pain at the wound site.

The warmth extends all the way up to my elbow and can be felt by touching my arm comparatively with the other arm.

I'm afraid something vicious (bacteria/virus) may have gotten into the cut and is causing a very fast, aggressive infection.
No other idea what could cause these symptoms to develop so suddenly!

Should I take a watch and wait approach by just monitoring it? Should I start taking oral antibiotics (like clindamycin or amoxicillin). Should I be less of a worry-wart and ride it out like I would with any small cut?

Answer
Hello Amanda,

Yes, it does sound like you have a good infection brewing under your skin. If your symptoms haven't begun to improve by the time you read this it may be time to see a professional for advice, maybe antibiotics?

My advice is usually to stay away from hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is good for dissolving blood clots and may cause the wound to bleed more and tissue that may recover on the edges of the wound may die creating more tissue damage and a longer healing time. Iodine is excellent as a skin prep before surgery, but it's effect is really only after it dries on the skin. I would recommend washing all future wounds with lots of clean water and soap. After put Neosporin, polysporin or some other triple antibiotic ointment on the wound for a couple days.

Good luck, I hope your wound heals up quickly.

Marc

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Marcus LaBarbera

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials
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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