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Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, Board Certified MD
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician, practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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I got a 2 inch scratch on my thumb from a metal fence yesterday.

Resolved Question:

I got a 2 inch scratch on my thumb from a metal fence yesterday. Today it's red along both sides about a 1/4 inch out and sore. Should I be concerned or just continue with antibiotic ointment?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 6 years ago.
Hello,

Is there any pus drainage from the wound?
Is your tetanus immunization up to date?
Is the pain increasing?

Dr Abby
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No puss. Tetnus is not because last time I had a booster (1980) my arm became swollen and red for a few weeks
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 6 years ago.
Ok, thank you for clarifying.

It sounds as if the wound is becoming infected--signs of a skin or wound infection include increasing pain, spreading redness and warmth.

I would go to an urgent care for evaluation today to have it looked at. As long as the redness is not rapidly spreading and you do not have a fever, it can wait until one opens.

Keep the wound covered with antibiotic ointment as you have been doing and use ibuprofen (if you don't have any problems taking it) for pain.
Try to keep the hand elevated as well.

Feel free to ask any follow up questions,

Dr Abby

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Do you think I should get a tetnus booster even though I previously had a reaction?
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 6 years ago.
That is a good question..

Large local reactions are not a contraindication to the vaccine. Redness, fever and swelling of the injection site are not uncommon and are not reasons to withhold future boosters.


The injury that you had is one that is at risk for tetanus, so you should be updated if possible.

Dr Abby

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