Being able to recognize the signs of bleeding and infection is an absolute must for the NCLEX! It can affect every system. I consider this a general principle that will help you answer many types of NCLEX questions.
What are the signs of bleeding?
- bright red blood coming from any orifice/opening (that’s a no-brainer)
- low blood pressure <90/60 and high heart rate >100 (fluid volume deficit)
- a drop in hemoglobin and hematocrit from one day to the next
- very low platelets <150,000
- black, tarry stool called melena
- blood in the vomit called hematemesis
- small red dots on the skin called petechiae
- excessive bruising on the skin
- blood in the urine called hematuria
- nose bleeds called epistaxis
What are the signs of infection?
- any fluid that is cloudy, green, yellow or gray (called purulent drainage)
- fluids can be urine, wound drainage, eye drainage, ear drainage, respiratory drainage
- wound drainage that smells bad is called malodorus (mal means bad in French)
- pain, edema and warmth
- pain that is not relieved by pain meds
- white blood cell count greater than 10,000 (normal is 5-10K)
- temperature > 101F or >38
Are they any signs that are obvious that I’m forgetting? Post them below!