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What are the worst possible consequences of infection left untreated?

Apr 2013
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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 9349 Questions
What are the worst possible consequences from an infection left untreated? Just a cat scratch, but I would like to avoid any this time.. I expect it to; heal in time: but I am curious what you think about the possible.results.

Thank you
Posted Fri, 14 Jun 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 51 minutes later
Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX Thank you for your query.

Well, theoretically, the worst possible consequence is sepsis and death; of course this is just one extreme.
I dont see why shouldnt you treat it , but of course you can have your own reasons and some people decide to wait for spontaneous heal. First, you should determine is is just cat scratch or this is infected cat scratch. You ll recognize infection if there is pain, redness, swelling or pus secretion. Even if there is infection it will naturally pass in 3-7 days in most cases. Less commonly it can cause phlegmone, abscesses or lymphadenitis and this is sign of something more serious and should be treated. If not, this can spread and lead to systemic infection and blood poisoning.Of course, even these lesions can subside spontaneously but you shouldnt take this risk.
Phlegmone and abscess you can recognize as a bigger red, painful, fluctuating mass around that bite. Lymphadenitis you can recognize as redness which looks like a wide, red streaks which travel from the site of infection.This all can be associated with fever.

So probably it wont be anything serious, and you can wait and watch for those signs I ve mentioned and then seek medical help. Just dont wait till serious infection develop.

Wish you good health. If you have anything to ask I ll be glad to help. Regards
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