Puncture Wound Infection (Some Examples)

Puncture wounds can lead to divers’ infection if not well managed, this is what is covered in this article “Puncture Wound Infection”. In this article we will discuss some infections associated with puncture wounds


Puncture Wound Infections


The most common puncture wound infection is tetanus. Rusty nails do not cause tetanus themselves, but they often occupy dirty or dusty areas that harbor Clostridium tetani, the bacteria that causes tetanus. Stepping on a nail can spread this bacteria to humans.

Symptoms of a tetanus infection include:

  • Lockjaw, an inability to move the jaw
  • A rigid facial expression
  • Drooling and difficulty swallowing
  • Muscle spasms and pain
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Fever and sweating
  • Changes in blood pressure or fast heart rate.

In neonatal tetanus, symptoms include muscle spasms, which are often preceded by the newborn’s inability to suck or breastfeed, and excessive crying.

Tetanus is a serious illness contracted through exposure to the spores of the bacterium, Clostridium tetani, which live in soil, saliva, dust, and manure. The bacteria can enter the body through a deep cuts, wounds or burns affecting the nervous system. The infection leads to painful muscle contractions, particularly of the jaw and neck muscle, and is commonly known as “lockjaw”.

People of all ages can get tetanus but the disease is particularly common and serious in newborn babies and their mothers when the mothers` are unprotected from tetanus by the vaccine, tetanus toxoid. Tetanus occurring during pregnancy or within 6 weeks of the end of pregnancy is called “maternal tetanus”, while tetanus occurring within the first 28 days of life is called “neonatal tetanus”.

The disease remains an important public health problem in many parts of the world, but especially in low-income countries or districts, where immunization coverage is low and unclean birth practices are common. WHO estimates that in 2017 (the latest year for which estimates are available), 30,848 newborns died from neonatal tetanus, 85% reduction from the situation in 2000.

Read Also: Puncture Wound: First Aid & Home Remedies



Another puncture wound infection we will consider is abscess. A skin abscess is a tender mass generally surrounded by a colored area from pink to deep red. Abscesses are often easy to feel by touching. The vast majority of them are caused by infections. Inside, they are full of pus, bacteria and debris.

When our normal skin barrier is broken, even from minor trauma, or small tears, or inflammation, bacteria can enter the skin. An abscess can form as your body’s defenses try to kill these germs with your inflammatory response (white blood cells = pus).


Cellulitis (Which is an infection of the deep layers of the skin):


The third puncture wound infection we will be considering in this article is Cellulitis. Cellulitis is a common and sometimes painful bacterial skin infection. It may first appear as a red, swollen area that feels hot and tender to the touch. The redness and swelling can spread quickly.

It most often affects the skin of the lower legs, although the infection can occur anywhere on a person’s body or face.

Cellulitis usually happens on the surface of the skin, but it may also affect the tissues underneath. The infection can spread to your lymph nodes and bloodstream.

Cellulitis occurs when certain types of bacteria enter the skin through a cut or crack. Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria can cause this infection.

The infection can start in skin injuries such as:

  • Cuts
  • Bug bites
  • Surgical wounds

Cellulitis symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the affected area
  • Redness or inflammation of your skin
  • A skin sore or rash that grows quickly
  • Tight, glossy, swollen skin
  • A feeling of warmth in the affected area
  • An abscess with pus
  • Fever

More serious cellulitis symptoms include:

  • Shaking
  • Chills
  • Feeling ill
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Muscle aches
  • Warm skin
  • Sweating

Symptoms like these could mean that cellulitis is spreading:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Blisters
  • Red streaks

Read Also: Nail Puncture Wound; Complications & What to do

Septic arthritis, or infection of the joints:

Infectious arthritis is an infection in a joint. It may also be referred to as septic arthritis. It occurs when an infection caused by a bacteria or virus spreads to a joint or the fluid surrounding the joint. This fluid is called the synovial fluid. This infection usually begins in another area of the body and spreads through the bloodstream to the joint tissue. The infection may also enter the body through surgery, open wounds, or injections.

The symptoms may include:

  • Severe pain that worsens with movement
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Warmth and redness around the joint
  • A fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • A rapid heart rate
  • Irritability


Osteomyelitis (A serious bone infection):

Osteomyelitis develops slowly, and may take days or months to appear. Around 1–2% of people with a foot puncture wound go on to develop this condition.

Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs.

Smokers and people with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or kidney failure, are more at risk of developing osteomyelitis. People who have diabetes may develop osteomyelitis in their feet if they have foot ulcers.

Although once considered incurable, osteomyelitis can now be successfully treated. Most people need surgery to remove areas of the bone that have died. After surgery, strong intravenous antibiotics are typically needed.

Signs and symptoms of osteomyelitis include:

  • Fever
  • Swelling, warmth and redness over the area of the infection
  • Pain in the area of the infection
  • Fatigue

Sometimes osteomyelitis causes no signs and symptoms or the signs and symptoms are hard to distinguish from other problems. This may be especially true for infants, older adults and people whose immune systems are compromised.


Most cases of osteomyelitis are caused by staphylococcus bacteria, types of germs commonly found on the skin or in the nose of even healthy individuals.

Germs can enter a bone in a variety of ways, including:

  • The bloodstream.Germs in other parts of your body — for example, in the lungs from pneumonia or in the bladder from a urinary tract infection — can travel through your bloodstream to a weakened spot in a bone.
  • Severe puncture wounds can carry germs deep inside your body. If such an injury becomes infected, the germs can spread into a nearby bone. Germs can also enter the body if you have broken a bone so severely that part of it is sticking out through your skin.
  • Direct contamination with germs can occur during surgeries to replace joints or repair fractures.



By Ubong Edet

A passionate Health and Safety professional with a good level of field experience and relevant certifications including NEBOSH, OSHA, ISO, etc certifications. An Health and Safety activist who believes in the growth and continual improvement of the profession. He is going all out to create awareness and safe precious lives.

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