Knowing how to tell if a wound is infected is an important skill to have, namely because you’ll be able to alert your doctor to the infection as soon as possible. The sooner your doctor can intervene with the appropriate treatment method, the better your chances of getting back on the proper healing track without further complications.

Here are the signs and symptoms of wound infection that you should never ignore:

wounded patient talking to doctorKnowing the signs of wound infection helps your doctor prescribe the right treatment.

Increased or continued pain

If your wound is healing properly, the pain should gradually subside. However, if it remains constant or gets worse, it could be a sign that the wound is infected, and therefore not healing at a normal rate. Body aches can also be a symptom.

Fever

An infected wound may have localized fever, meaning it feels significantly warmer than surrounding areas. Additionally, VeryWell Health noted that a whole body temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit is a sign that the infection may be spreading.

Feeling unwell

According to Healthline, a sense of malaise can mean feeling weak, under the weather or generally uncomfortable. This noticeable lack of energy could be a symptom of infection. VeryWell Health noted that symptoms of nausea or diarrhea can further indicate that the infection is beginning to affect other body systems.

Swelling

Wound Source noted that inflammation is normal at the beginning stages of wound healing, but if the swelling does not subside, it can be a sign of infection or other complication.

Redness

Redness around the wound that persists for more than five to seven days after the initial injury is a sign of wound infection, according to Wound Source. The red color may also spread in streaking patterns to other areas of the body, meaning the infection could be getting worse.

Draining pus

If the wound is oozing excess amounts of thick, gooey liquids, it could be a sign of trouble. Slightly yellow exudate is relatively normal, but an infected wound may have discolored drainage that emits a foul odor.

Restricted movement

In some cases of infection, excess pain, swelling or numbness can impair your usual movement or function of the affected area.

The most effective way to prevent infections from developing is to practice proper wound care, which includes frequent cleaning and dressing changes. Talk to your doctor about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue to get your prescribed wound care supplies delivered straight to your front door.