The bodys physiologic response to the irritation is
to dilate local blood vessels, which increases the blood
supply to the area. The increased blood flow, 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.
white blood cells increase in the area and act as
scavengers (phagocytes) in destroying bacteria and
ingesting small particles of dead tissue and foreign
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 following
Remove the irritating cause.
Keep the inflamed area at rest and elevated.
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
Apply wet dressings and ointments to soften
tissues and to rid the area of the specific causal
An abscess is a localized collection of pus that
forms in cavities created by the disintegration of tissue.
Abscesses may follow injury, illness, or irritation.
Most abscesses are caused by staphylococcal
infections and may occur in any area of the body, but
they 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 carbuncle is a group of
furuncular abscesses having 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 includes
DO NOT squeeze! Squeezing may damage
surrounding healthy tissue and spread the
Use aseptic techniques when handling.
Relieve pain with aspirin.
Apply moist hot soaks/dressings (110F) for 40
minutes, three to four times per day.
Rest and elevate the infected body part.
Antibiotic therapy may be ordered by a
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 physician.
SPECIAL WOUNDS AND THEIR
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: R e c a l l
medical precautions and wound-treatment
procedures for the following list of wounds:
animal bites, eye wounds, head wounds,
facial wounds, abdominal wounds, crushing
injuries, and the removal of foreign objects.
As a Hospital Corpsman, you should find most
general wounds very easy to diagnose and treat. There
are other wounds, however, that require special
consideration and treatment.
They are discussed
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 following precautions must be
DO NOT allow the victim to rub the eye.