What is a wound infection?
When bacteria gets into a cut or wound, your child may get a skin infection. You may notice your child has:
- Pus or cloudy fluid from the wound.
- A pimple or yellow crust on the wound.
- A lot of redness around the cut.
- A red streak from the wound toward the heart.
- A large, tender lymph node in the area.
- A fever.
How can I take care of my child?
- Give antibiotics. Your child needs the medicine prescribed by your doctor.
- Soak the wound in warm water. This cleans it out and helps it heal. Make a warm saltwater bath. Put in 2 teaspoons of table salt for each quart of water. Soak your child’s cut in the water for 20 minutes 3 times a day. You can also use a wash cloth soaked in the salt water on the cut. Put on a clean bandage after each soak.
If the wound has stitches, keep it dry for the first 24 hours. Wash once a day with soap and water, but do not soak the wound until the stitches are taken out.
- Use heat. If your child’s wound is closed, put a heating pad or warm, wet washcloth on the red area. Do this for 20 minutes 3 times a day.
- Give fever and pain medicine. Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) if there is pain or fever. No aspirin.
Call your child’s doctor right away if:
- The redness from the wound spreads.
- The wound gets very painful.
- Your child starts to act very sick.
Call your child’s doctor during office hours if:
- Your child’s fever is not gone after 48 hours on the medicine.
- The wound does not look better after 3 days on the medicine.
- The wound isn’t fully healed in 10 days.
- You have other questions or concerns.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick”, American Academy of Pediatrics Books. Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-11-23
Last reviewed: 2011-06-06 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. Pediatric Advisor 2011.4 Index
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