First aid

Updated 21 December 2017


Do you know when a wound has become infected? Learn more about when medical care is needed.

Any wound, insect bite, burn, rash, blister, graze, bruise or other lesion may become infected. Sometimes, a swelling due to a sprain may become infected, especially if the overlying skin is broken. Always check for signs of infection which usually appears about two days later.

Signs of infection include:

  • Redness, warmth, swelling, increasing pain and tenderness
  • Formation of pus (yellow, green or cloudy) which may lead to an abscess
  • Red streaking around the wound which seems to spread slowly in the direction of the heart
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin or armpit of the affected limb, or in the neck
  • Fever (only if the infection is more advanced)

See a doctor if these signs appear. You may require an antibiotic and/or drainage of the infection.


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