cleanup, puncture wounds must also be directed
to a medical treatment facility for evaluation.
Inflammation is a local reaction to irritation.
It occurs in tissues that are injured, but not
destroyed. Symptoms include redness, pain, heat,
swelling, and sometimes loss of motion.
The bodys physiologic response to the irrita-
tion is to dilate local blood vessels, which increases
the blood supply to the area, which in turn causes
the skin to appear red and warmer. As the blood
vessels dilate, their injured walls leak blood serum
into surrounding tissues, causing edema and pain
from increased pressure on nerve endings. In ad-
dition, white blood cells increase in the area and
act as scavengers (phagocytes) in destroying
bacteria and ingesting small particles of dead
tissue and foreign matter.
Inflammation may be caused by trauma or
mechanical irritation; chemical reaction to venom,
poison ivy, acids, or alkalies; heat or cold injuries;
microorganism penetration; or other agents such
as electricity or solar radiation.
Inflammation should be treated by the follow-
1. Remove the irritating cause.
2. Keep the inflamed area at rest and elevated.
3. Apply cold for 24 to 48 hours to reduce
swelling. Once swelling is reduced, apply
heat to soft tissues, which hastens the
removal of products of inflammation.
4. Apply wet dressings and ointments to
soften tissues and to rid the area of the
specific causal bacteria.
An abscess is a localized collection of pus that
forms in cavities created by the disintegration of
tissue. Abscesses may follow injury, illness, or ir-
ritation. Most are caused by staphylococcal in-
fections and may occur in any area of the body,
but are usually on the skin surface.
A FURUNCLE (boil) is an abscess in the true
skin caused by the entry of microorganisms
through a hair follicle or sweat gland. A CAR-
BUNCLE is a group of furuncular abscesses hav-
ing multiple sloughs, often interconnected under
the true skin. When localized, there are several
heads. Symptoms begin with localized itching
and inflammation, followed by swelling, fever,
and pain. Redness and swelling localize, and the
furuncle or carbuncle becomes hard and painful.
Pus forms into a cavity, causing the skin to
become taut and discolored.
Treatment for furuncles and carbuncles in-
cludes the following:
1. DO NOT squeeze; this may damage sur-
rounding healthy tissue and spread the
2. Use aseptic techniques when handling.
3. Relieve pain with aspirin.
4. Apply moist hot soaks/dressings (110°F)
for 40 minutes, three to four times per day.
5. Rest and elevate the infected body part.
6. Antibiotic therapy may be ordered by a
7. Abscesses should be incised after they have
localized (except on the face) to establish
drainage. Abscesses in the facial triangle
(nose and upper lip) should be seen by a
Many eye wounds contain foreign objects.
Dirt, coal, cinders, eyelashes, bits of metal, and
a variety of other objects may become lodged in
the eye. Since even a small piece of dirt is intensely
irritating to the eye, the removal of such objects
is important. However, the eye is easily damaged.
Impairment of vision (or even total loss of vision)
can result from fumbling, inexpert attempts to
remove foreign objects from the eye. The follow-
ing precautions MUST be observed:
1. DO NOT allow the victim to rub the eye.
2. DO NOT press against the eye or
manipulate it in any way that might cause
the object to become embedded in the
tissues of the eye. Be very gentle; roughness
is almost sure to cause injury to the eye.
3. DO NOT use such things as knives,
toothpicks, matchsticks, or wires to remove
4. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUM-
STANCES ATTEMPT TO REMOVE AN
OBJECT THAT IS EMBEDDED IN THE
EYEBALL OR THAT HAS PENE-
TRATED THE EYE! If you see a splinter
or other object sticking out from the eye-
ball, leave it alone! Only specially trained
medical personnel can hope to save the vic-
tims sight if an object has actually
penetrated the eyeball.