Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms

Wound Infection Overview

What is a wound infection?
A person with a wound infection has a skin wound that has become infected with bacteria. Skin wounds that commonly become infected include puncture wounds and lacerations. Less commonly, skin abrasions may become infected. A skin wound that contains dirt or a foreign object has a high risk for infection with bacteria. Common skin infections include cellulitis, skin abscess, and lymphangitis.

What are the symptoms of a wound infection?
Symptoms of a wound infection include increasing pain around the wound, worsening skin redness, skin swelling, skin tenderness, a foul odor, and a cloudy discharge from the wound. Additional symptoms of a wound infection include fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting. A soft lump that forms beneath red, tender skin may represent a developing skin abscess. A wound that has been repaired with sutures or staples may start to come apart if it becomes infected.

How does the doctor treat a wound infection?
Treatment for a wound infection includes cleaning the wound, removing any foreign objects from the wound, warm compresses, and elevating the wound above the heart. Additional treatment usually includes oral antibiotics and topical antibiotics. Splints may be used to immobilize wound infections on the hands or fingers. A skin abscess may require minor surgery, in order to remove pus so that the wound can heal.

Continue to Wound Infection Symptoms

Last Updated: Oct 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Wound Infection References
  1. Edmonds M, Foster A. The use of antibiotics in the diabetic foot. Am J Surg. 2004 May;187(5A):25S-28S. [15147988]
  2. Leman P, Mukherjee D. Flucloxacillin alone or combined with benzylpenicillin to treat lower limb cellulitis: a randomised controlled trial. Emerg Med J. 2005 May;22(5):342-6. [15843702]
  3. Morris A. Cellulitis and erysipelas. Clin Evid. 2004 Dec;(12):2271-7. [15865787]
  4. Swartz MN. Clinical practice. Cellulitis. N Engl J Med. 2004 Feb 26;350(9):904-12. [14985488]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.