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How do I know if my wound is infected?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Germs which are called bacteria are present on the skin. Any opening in the skin (wound) can allow the bacteria to travel into the opening (wound).  Some of the common signs and symptoms of a possible wound infection are redness and warmth around the area of the wound, a noticeable wound odor, an increase in pain in the wound, fever, noticeable swelling (edema), pus (may be white, yellow, or brown), an increase in wound discharge (exudates), the wound bleeds very easy, and/or no progress towards wound healing. The bacteria’s movement into a wound is considered a wound infection when the bacteria overpower the person’s protected (immune) response, and causes the body to react in different ways. To diagnosis the wound as an infection your clinician will examine the wounds signs and symptoms, and use the laboratory findings to support the diagnosis.

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Occasionally, a wound may become infected. Signs of infection include redness spreading from the wound site, increasing pain, drainage, warmth, swelling, a temperature above 100 degrees and a bad odor. If you experience any sign of infection, you should contact your doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.