Wound Infection

ExitCare ImageA wound infection happens when a type of germ (bacteria) starts growing in the wound. In some cases, this can cause the wound to break open. If cared for properly, the infected wound will heal from the inside to the outside. Wound infections need treatment.


An infection is caused by bacteria growing in the wound.


  • Increase in redness, swelling, or pain at the wound site.

  • Increase in drainage at the wound site.

  • Wound or bandage (dressing) starts to smell bad.

  • Fever.

  • Feeling tired or fatigued.

  • Pus draining from the wound.


You caregiver will prescribe antibiotic medicine. The wound infection should improve within 24 to 48 hours. Any redness around the wound should stop spreading and the wound should be less painful.


  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Take your antibiotics as directed. Finish them even if you start to feel better.

  • Gently wash the area with mild soap and water 2 times a day, or as directed. Rinse off the soap. Pat the area dry with a clean towel. Do not rub the wound. This may cause bleeding.

  • Follow your caregiver's instructions for how often you need to change the dressing.

  • Apply ointment and a dressing to the wound as directed.

  • If the dressing sticks, moisten it with soapy water and gently remove it.

  • Change the bandage right away if it becomes wet, dirty, or develops a bad smell.

  • Take showers. Do not take tub baths, swim, or do anything that may soak the wound until it is healed.

  • Avoid exercises that make you sweat heavily.

  • Use anti-itch medicine as directed by your caregiver. The wound may itch when it is healing. Do not pick or scratch at the wound.

  • Follow up with your caregiver to get your wound rechecked as directed.


  • You have an increase in swelling, pain, or redness around the wound.

  • You have an increase in the amount of pus coming from the wound.

  • There is a bad smell coming from the wound.

  • More of the wound breaks open.

  • You have a fever.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.