Wound Infection

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:

  • Fever
  • Warm, red, painful, or swollen skin near the wound
  • Blood or pus coming from the wound
  • A foul odor coming from the wound

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