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Symptoms and Treatment for Osteomyelitis

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To sum up my previous article on osteomyelitis, this is a condition where an infection is in your bone. The most common risk factors for this type of infection stem from a pre-existing infection elsewhere in the body that traveled through the bloodstream; for example, you had an open wound from trauma or surgery that left your exposed bone and tissue susceptible to infection, or you have an underlying condition that weakens your immune system like diabetes or HIV that left room for an infection to get to your bone tissue. Either way, osteomyelitis is a dangerous infection that has serious consequences if not treated properly and aggressively.

For starters, when the infection gets down to your bone tissue, there are certain symptoms that should alert you that you are not just dealing with the sniffles. If you believe your current status is a risk factor for osteomyelitis, keep attuned to a sudden fever, abnormal bone or limb pain, warmth and redness in a certain area, swelling and tenderness, abnormal fatigue, or pus coming from an open wound. Most of these are quite obvious, but symptoms like fever or fatigue wouldn’t normally trigger a person to believe they have osteomyelitis, but it is important to understand that the obvious can lead to the unobvious and a potentially life threatening situation.

With that said, when is an appropriate time to see a doctor? After many infections, ailments, illnesses and injuries, I have learned the hard way that immediately is the best answer, especially when dealing with infection. The older you are, the most you understand your body and what it can handle, however it something doesn’t feel right, its probably best to get it checked out.

After being diagnosed with osteomyelitis, you will promptly begin treatment to stop the infection in its tracks. If an aggressive form of antibiotics doesn’t do the trick, then your last resort is surgery. Surgery is actually the most common form of treatment for this condition for several reasons. During the procedure, surgeons can drain a substantial amount of the infection out of your body as well as remove the infected bone and tissue if needed. If your blood flow is interrupted, surgeons can also insert grafts to help repair damaged blood vessels while the infection is treated. And again, as I stated in my previous article on osteomyelitis, depending on the stage of the infection, surgery may be required to amputate the limb. This is obviously not the most popular choice, but if the dead limb is not removed, the infection can continue to spread throughout the body possibly leading to death.

Even though some cases of osteomyelitis cannot be prevented, you can do yourself a favor by sterilizing any cuts, scrapes or open wounds no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Keeping them clean and bandaged till they heal can save yourself a whole lot of trouble down the line.

Whether your immune system is as strong as an ox or weak as a newborn calf, it is imperative to live a healthy lifestyle to keep your body healthy. Doing something as simple as substituting a strawberry parfait with fresh strawberries to give your body the real nutrients it needs can go a long way when infection strikes. Therefore, whether you have a risky pre-existing condition or not, take care of your body, and it will repay the favor later.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.