Infection can develop after an injury or wound to the skin
or mucous membranes (such as the inside of the nose or mouth), a bite or sting,
a tattoo or piercing, or other skin problems. Signs of infection may
Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth
around the affected area.
Red streaks extending away from the
Drainage of pus from the area.
Fever or chills.
Bruises usually do not become infected unless the skin was
cut, punctured, or scraped. Most wounds will not become infected if they are
properly cleaned and cared for. If you have a cut, puncture, or scrape, see the
Home Treatment section of the topics Cuts, Puncture Wounds, or Scrapes, and
follow the steps for cleaning and caring for a wound to reduce your risk of
It is important to watch for a skin infection during
the healing process. Wound infections are more likely to develop if:
Blood collects in the wound (wound
Dirt or objects, such as splinters, are left in the
The wound is in the genital or anal area, in a skin fold, or
between the toes.
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.