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What May Increase Your Risk for Problems From a Cut, Bite, or Other Skin Injury?

What May Increase Your Risk for Problems From a Cut, Bite, or Other Skin Injury?

Many conditions, lifestyle choices, medicines, and diseases interfere with your ability to heal or fight infection. You may be at risk for a more serious problem from your symptoms if you have any of the following. Be sure to tell your doctor.


  • A problem or condition present since birth (congenital defect)
  • Age older than 60
  • Artificial joint or heart valve
  • Skin injury while traveling in a foreign country or in the United States near the border with Mexico
  • Child younger than 6 months old
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Previous surgery to remove the lymph nodes near the skin injury
  • Previous similar injury
  • Previous surgery to injured area
  • Previous surgery to remove the spleen
  • Swelling (edema) in the limb where the injury occurred
  • Unknown or uncertain tetanus immunization history

Lifestyle choices

  • Alcohol abuse or withdrawal
  • Drug abuse or withdrawal
  • Smoking or other tobacco use


  • Anticoagulants, such as aspirin, heparin, and warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection
  • Medicines used to treat cancer (chemotherapy)
  • Radiation therapy


  • Anemia
  • An eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
  • Bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia or von Willebrand's disease
  • Cancer
  • Decreased blood flow, such as venous insufficiency or peripheral arterial disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sickle cell disease
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised June 6, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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