Wound Infection Discharge Information

What is a wound infection?

A wound is damage to body tissues that may be caused by pressure, injury, or surgery. Wounds may include bruises, scrapes, scratches, cuts, burns, pressure sores (pressure ulcers), or surgery incisions. Wounds that cause an opening in the skin, called open wounds, may easily become infected with bacteria. Signs of a wound infection include redness, pain, warmth, pus or foul-smelling fluid draining from the wound, or a fever higher than 101.5° F (38.6° C).

How can I take care of myself when I go home?

How long it takes to get better depends on the cause and type of wound infection, your treatment, how well you recover, your overall health, and any complications you may have.

Management

  • Your provider will give you a list of your medicines when you leave the hospital.
    • Know your medicines. Know what they look like, how much you should take each time, how often you should take them, and why you take each one.
    • Take your medicines exactly as your provider tells you to.
    • Carry a list of your medicines in your wallet or purse. Include any nonprescription medicines and supplements on the list.
    • Talk to your provider before you use any other medicines, including nonprescription medicines.
  • Your provider may prescribe medicine to:
    • Treat pain
    • Treat the infection
  • You may need to continue a wound care or rehabilitation program after you leave the hospital to continue treating your wound or help you adjust to tissue, bone, or limb loss. This may include:
    • Physical therapy to help you regain muscle strength and teach you ways to move safely.
    • Occupational therapy to help you relearn ways to do the tasks that you previously did.
    • Wound care: Debridement and dressing changes to help treat infection
  • To care for your wound:
    • Keep your wound clean.
    • If you are told to change your dressing on your wound, wash your hands before changing the dressing and after disposing of the dressing.

Appointments

  • Follow your provider’s instructions for follow-up appointments and routine tests.
  • Talk with your provider about any questions or fears you have.

Diet, Exercise, and Other Lifestyle Changes

  • Follow the treatment plan your healthcare provider prescribes.
  • Get plenty of rest while you’re recovering. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine light yellow in color, unless you are told to limit fluids.
  • Exercise as your provider recommends.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can delay wound healing and worsen poor blood circulation.
  • Follow activity restrictions, such as not driving or operating machinery, as recommended by your healthcare provider or pharmacist, especially if you are taking pain medicines or muscle relaxants.

Call your healthcare provider if you have new or worsening:

  • Signs of worsening infection around your wound. These include:
    • The area around your wound is more red or painful.
    • Your wound area is very warm to touch.
    • You have blood, pus, or other fluid coming from the wound area.
    • You have a fever higher than 101.5° F (38.6° C).
    • You have chills or muscle aches.
  • Swelling or change in color of the skin below your wound
  • Pain that is not controlled with your medicine

Ask your healthcare provider about any medicine, treatment, or information that you do not understand.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Acute Care Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-07-30
Last reviewed: 2014-07-31
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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