The signs and symptoms of an infected wound
The signs and symptoms of an infected wound

Scrapes, scratches and cuts are part and parcel of childhood, leaving small battle scars for stories later in life. Thankfully, kids have parents on their side to tell them when a wound is beginning to look infected and may need attention. While a scrape or scratch shouldn’t stop kids from playing outside and having fun, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of infection and how to treat them.

The Victorian Government’s Better Health program suggests that wounds can become infected  when minute bacteria get into the wound. Bacteria can come in many forms, so it is always important to clean the wound straight away. If the wound has been sustained from a piece of rusty metal, then a trip to the doctors is strongly advised to avoid developing tetanus.

The common symptoms and signs of an infected wound include:

  • Redness around the wound
  • Swelling or pain around the wound
  • Any feeling of warmth or abnormal body heat around the site of the wound
  • Discharge or pus emerging from the wound. This pus is usually yellow or green in appearance
  • Fever and abnormal changes in body temperature

If any of these symptoms are present the wound is likely infected and will require medical treatment. In some cases this may include oral antibiotics, topical creams and in worst case scenarios, surgery to remove the infected tissue.

To help avoid an infection there are a number of tips and tricks parents can follow to stop a wound from becoming infected:

  • Cleaning the wound with a disinfectant as soon as it occurs to help kill any bacteria
  • Removing any dead skin that has been created during the injury
  • Regularly changing the dressing on wounds and keeping it clean
  • Speaking with a doctor about medications your child is taking  to see if they could potentially slow down the healing process

Recognising the signs of infection is the most important step in ensuring a scratch or scrape doesn’t turn into something more serious. If a wound becomes infected or painful, it is important to seek medical advice. 

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