Wound Infection

Disponible En Espanol


Care at Home

  • WARM SOAKS OR WARM WET CLOTH: * For any redness or other signs of early infection, use heat. * For OPEN CUTS OR SCRAPES, soak it in warm water. You can also put a warm wet cloth on the wound. Do this for 10 minutes 3 times per day. Use a warm saltwater solution. You can make your own. Put 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of table salt in a quart (liter) of warm water. * For CLOSED OR SUTURED CUTS, put a heating pad on the wound. You can also use a warm, moist washcloth. Do this for 10 minutes 3 times per day. * Cautions for SUTURED WOUNDS. Do not put anything wet on the wound for first 24 hours. After 24 hours, can take brief showers. Never soak the wound before all sutures are removed.
  • ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT: * Use an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin. * No prescription is needed. * Put it on the wound 3 times a day. * If the area could become dirty, cover with a Band-Aid.
  • PAIN MEDICINE: * To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * Pain and swelling normally peak on day 2. * Any redness should go away by day 4. * Complete healing should occur by day 10.
  • RETURN TO SCHOOL: * For true wound infections, your child can return after the fever is gone. Your child should also be taking an antibiotic by mouth for 24 hours. * For minor redness around the wound, your child does not need to stay home.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Wound becomes more painful * Redness starts to spread * Pus or fever occurs * Your child becomes worse
  • FEVER: * For fevers above 102° F (39° C), give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. See Dose Table. Note: Lower fevers are important for fighting infections. * For ALL fevers: Keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids. * For babies, dress lightly. Don't wrap in too many blankets. Reason: Can make the fever higher.
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Some pink or red skin on the edge of the wound is normal. * It's more common if the wound is sutured. * It's also normal for it to be swollen for a few days. * Your child's wound is not infected unless the redness spreads or pain increases. * Here is some care advice that should help.

Disclaimer

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
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    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

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