A wound infection occurs when bacteria enters a break in the skin. The infection may involve just the skin, or affect deeper tissues or organs close to the wound.
What increases my risk for a wound infection?
Anything that decreases your body’s ability to heal wounds may put you at risk for a wound infection. This includes any of the following:
- Age older than 65
- Smoking or being overweight
- Medical conditions that weaken the immune system such as diabetes, HIV, or cancer
- Medicines that cause a weak immune system such as steroids
- Radiation, chemotherapy, or poor nutrition
- Foreign objects in the wound such as glass or metal
- Decreased blood flow to the wound caused by high blood pressure, or blocked
or narrowed blood vessels
What are the signs and symptoms of a wound infection?
Your symptoms may start a few days after you get the wound, or may not occur for a month or two after the wound happens:
- Warm, red, painful, or swollen skin near the wound
- Blood or pus coming from the wound
- A foul odor coming from the wound