Wound Infection - Suture Site
- Wound (break in the skin) shows signs of infection
- Stitched wounds, puncture wounds, and scrapes that look infected
- A wound can become infected if bacteria get into the break in the skin.
- If a wound is infected, symptoms will appear 1-3 days after the injury.
- Wound infections need to be treated by a doctor.
- Bright red, sunburn-like rash all over body
- Lymph node draining that area of skin may become large and tender (lymphadenitis)
- Pain or swelling gets worse after 48 hours since the wound happened
- Pimple or yellow crust formed on the wound (impetigo)
- Pus or cloudy fluid draining from the wound
- Red streak is spreading from the wound toward the heart (lymphangitis)
- Scab has gotten bigger
- Spreading redness near the wound (cellulitis)
- Wound has blisters or black dead tissue
- Wound hasn't healed within 10 days after the injury
- Wound is very tender
- Wound smells bad
Types of Wound Infection
What is MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus)?
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that can cause skin and wound infections. These may be pimples, boils, abscesses, cellulitis, and impetigo.
In the 1960s, strains of resistant bacteria started showing up in hospitals. These were called MRSA strains. MRSA now causes more skin infections in healthy people. These are being called CA-MRSA strains. There have been outbreaks among athletes and in jails.
CA-MRSA needs to be treated with an antibiotic drug. More information on CA-MRSA can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ca_public.html.
When to call your doctor
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You feel weak or very sick
- Bright red, sunburn-like rash on body
- Red streak runs from the wound
- Spreading redness near the wound
- Severe pain in the wound
- Face wound with signs of infection
- Finger wound and finger has sausage-shaped swelling and pain
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think you need to be seen
- Pus or cloudy drainage from the wound
- Pimple where a stitch comes through the skin
- Wound becomes more tender after 2 days
- Taking an antibiotic for more than 3 days and wound infection is not better
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home If
- Wound doesn't look infected
CARE ADVICE FOR MILD REDNESS OF WOUND
- What You Should Know:
- A wound can become infected if bacteria get into the break in the skin. If a wound is infected, symptoms will appear 1-3 days after the injury.
- Wound infections need to be treated by a doctor.
- You can treat a wound with mild redness at home.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Warm Soaks or Heat: If the wound is open, soak it in warm water. Do this for 20 minutes 3 times a day. You can also use a warm wet cloth. Use a warm salt water mixture. Make this with 2 teaspoons of table salt per quart of water. If the wound is closed, put a heating pad on the red area. Do this for 20 minutes 3 times a day. You can also use a warm, moist washcloth.
- Antibiotic Ointment: Put this on the wound 3 times a day. If it could become dirty, cover the wound with an adhesive bandage (Band-Aid). You can also use a clean gauze.
- Pain Medicines:
- You can take one of the drugs listed below if you have pain.
- They are over-the-counter (OTC) pain drugs. You can buy them at the drugstore.
- Regular Strength Tylenol: Take 2 pills (650 mg) every 4-6 hours. Each pill has 325 mg of acetaminophen.
- Extra Strength Tylenol: Take 2 pills (1,000 mg) every 8 hours. Each pill has 500 mg of acetaminophen.
- Do not take more than (3,000 mg) of this drug per day.
- Motrin and Advil: Take 2 pills (400 mg) every 6 hours. Each pill has 200 mg of ibuprofen.
- A second choice is to take 3 pills (600 mg) every 8 hours.
- Aleve: Take 1 pill (220 mg) every 8 hours. Each pill has 220 mg of naproxen.
- A second choice is to take 2 pills (440 mg) every 12 hours.
- Use the lowest amount of a drug that makes your pain feel better.
- Your doctor might tell you to take more than what is shown above. That is because your doctor knows you and your health problems.
- Acetaminophen is safer than ibuprofen or naproxen in people over 65 years old. Acetaminophen is in many OTC and prescription drugs. It might be in more than one drug you are taking. Be careful how much you take. Too much of this drug can hurt the liver.
- Caution- Acetaminophen: Do not take it if you have liver disease.
- Caution- Ibuprofen and Naproxen:
- Do not take ibuprofen or naproxen if you are pregnant.
- Do not take these drugs if you have stomach problems or kidney disease.
- Do not take these drugs for more than 7 days without checking with your doctor.
- Read all package instructions.
- What to Expect: Pain and swelling often are the worst on day 2. Any redness should go away within 3-4 days. You should be fully healed within 10 days.
- How It Is Spread: You can return to normal activities after your fever is gone and you have received antibiotics for 24 hours.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Wound becomes more tender
- Redness starts to spread
- Fever or the wound has pus or drainage
- You get worse
Author: David A. Thompson, M.D.
Last reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last revised: 11/15/2012 11:42:56 AM