Six Signs a Wound is Infected

Determine if a wound is infected and requires immediate attention.

Cuts, scrapes, and scratches – they happen to us all. Despite popular belief, wounds of all shapes, sizes, and resulting from all causes can get infected. Any break in the skin through injury allows bacteria to enter the body and begin to multiply. Recognizing the first signs of wound infection allows health care professionals to swiftly navigate treatment so that you can be on your way!

Check out some of the common symptoms associated with wound infection.


Running a fever can cause headaches and decrease your appetite. After surgery, it’s entirely normal to run a low-grade fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less. If your temperature reaches 101 degrees or over, it may indicate a wound infection is present. Contaminated or infected wounds may benefit from antimicrobial dressings.

Feelings of Malaise

Malaise is a common non-specific sign of a localized systemic infection. This is a feeling of tiredness and a lack of energy, common in those who have just undergone a surgical procedure.

Fluid Drainage

Incisions or wounds usually drain clear or slightly yellow exudate. If the drainage becomes green, cloudy or has a foul odor, it can indicate an infection. Healthy wound drainage can be managed with dressings or negative pressure therapy.

Redness Around the Wound

Redness tends to appear at the site of the wound immediately, decreasing significantly over the next 5 to 7 days. Redness that continues to expand or worsen could indicate a sign of infection.

Hot Skin Near Wound

When the skin around the wound feels warm to the touch (and doesn’t start cooling down), it can indicate that the body is rallying to tackle an infection. The heat is caused by the release of vasoactive chemicals, including the blood flow to that area.

Continue or Worsening Pain

Pain is common when it comes to wounds and incisions. However, it should gradually subside as your body heals. Pain medication can help, but if the pain gets worse or continues after a significant period of time, an infection may be present.

It’s important that if you suspect you’re suffering from an infected wound, to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Fortunately, an urgent care center, such as Sand Canyon Urgent Care, is there to help you through medical issues. To visit our Irvine location in California, call us today.