Infected Burn Wound

Signs that the burn is infected include: Fever; Increased pain; Redness and swelling; Drainage of pus from the wound; A red streak around the burn area; If you see signs of infection, get medical care right away. An infection can develop into a serious, and sometimes life-threatening, condition. A variety of factors increase the risk of developing burn wound infection, and individuals who sustain a severe burn have a particularly high risk for burn wound sepsis. Any rapid change in the burn wound appearance or the clinical condition of the burn patient may herald burn wound infection or sepsis.

  1. Infected Burn Wound Pictures
  2. Infected Burn Wound Symptoms
  3. Infected Burn Wound Picture
  4. Infected Burn Wound Treatment
  5. Infected Burn Wound Treatment

Remove infected areas or dead cells, or clean away crust, dirt or debris. Create a neat wound edge to decrease scarring. Help very severe burns or pressure sores heal. Second-degree, third-degree, and fourth-degree burns are susceptible to infection. Follow your doctor’s orders to prevent infection, know what an infected burn looks like, monitor your burn wound so you know if it is infected, and report any signs of infection to your doctor immediately. Burn wound infection is problematic because it delays healing, encourages scarring and may result in bacteremia, sepsis or multiple-organ dysfunction syndrome (a.k.a. Organ failure) whereby organs from several systems are unable to maintain homeostasis on their own, requiring immediate medical attention 3.

Burn injury infection is among the most serious complications of a burn injury. Burn patients are susceptible to burn injury infections due to the exposure of underlying tissue in a burn area. The skin acts as a natural barrier to bacteria. When the skin is damaged or dead, it fails to provide this protection. Burn patients with minor burns should take special care to sterilize and cover burns. In severe cases such as second, third, and fourth degree burns, treatment center specialists will protect the wounds and administer antibiotics to prevent burn injury infection.

Types of Burn Injury Infections

A burn injury infection may occur in several forms. The most common type of burn injury infection occurs at the site of the wound upon the introduction of bacteria or fungus. Other types of infection are associated with burns, such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections.


Pneumonia is the infection of the lungs and lower airways. Pneumonia is most common in burn patients who experience smoke inhalation injury from a fire. Smoke inhalation injury affects the airways and lungs. However, pneumonia may also occur in patients without smoke inhalation injury.
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of burn injury infection include the following:

  • Fever
  • Increased pain and swelling
  • Foul-smelling pus or greenish discharge
  • Purplish, dark brown or black discoloration of the burn injury
  • A second-degree burn which develops into full necrosis, or tissue death
  • Change in the thickness of the burn wound

Burn Injury Infection Risk Factors

Studies show that patients with certain underlying medical conditions may be more susceptible to burn injury infection. AIDS patients may experience more difficulty with wound healing, which increases the risk of burn injury infection. Diabetes patients may also be more susceptible to delayed healing time and burn injury infection, especially when the burn area includes extremities such as arms and legs.

Sepsis from Infection

Sepsis is a life-threatening complication of burn injury infection. During sepsis, bodily inflammation occurs as a reaction to the natural chemicals that are released to fight infection. As a result, the patient may experience decreased blood flow to vital organs. In severe cases, the patient may enter septic shock, which may lead to a significant blood pressure drop, organ failure, and death. The journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews states that in patients whose burns cover 40 percent or more of the total body surface area (TBSA), roughly 75 percent of deaths are related to sepsis from infection of the burn injury.


Bhat, Satyanarayan, and Stephen Milner. “Antimicrobial Peptides in Burns and Wounds.” Current Protein & Peptide Science 8.5 (2007): 506-520. MEDLINE with Full Text. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.

“Burn injury/HIV infection/sepsis independently result in immunosuppression.” Health & Medicine Week 17 Jan. 2005: 120. Academic OneFile. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.


Dries, David J. “Management of burn injuries – recent developments in resuscitation, infection control and outcomes research.” Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 17 (2009): 14. Academic OneFile. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.

Rowley-Conwy, Gabby. “Infection prevention and treatment in patients with major burn injuries.” Nursing Standard 25.7 (2010): 51+. Academic OneFile. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.

If you have a warm wound or a warm forehead, these signs could indicate an infection.

Whether you are recovering from surgery or injury, it is important to keep an eye out for a possible wound infection. Your risks of infection are increased by certain chronic conditions, medications, psychosocial factors, and poor wound care hygiene practices. Even when you take all of the right steps to prevent an infection, factors beyond your control may cause one to develop. Microorganisms like bacteria may infiltrate the wound, multiply, and damage your skin’s tissues, which causes systemic illness and delays the healing process. If you notice any of the following signs, see your doctor as soon as possible for infected wound treatment.

1. Feelings of Malaise

Malaise is a common non-specific sign of a localized systemic infection. It is a feeling of tiredness and a lack of energy. You may not feel up to completing normal activities or begin sleeping more than usual. While this type of feeling is associated with surgical recovery, there is a big difference from what is typical and what is a sign of infection. People who are recovering from surgery without an infection feel a little better day by day. Those recovering from surgery who contract an infection might feel good and then suddenly become exhausted.

2. Running a Fever

Infected Burn Wound Pictures

Running a fever can cause headaches and decrease your appetite. Running a low-grade fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less is typical following surgery. If your temperature reaches 101 degrees or more, it may be indicative of a wound infection. If this happens, consult your surgeon or physician immediately. Keep in mind that if your fever is due to an open or chronic wound, antiseptics in the form of impregnated dressings containing honey or silver may be helpful.

3. Fluid Drainage

It is quite normal to have some fluid drainage from the incision area after surgery. Expect clear or slightly yellow-colored fluid to drain from your wound. If the drainage fluid is cloudy, green, or foul smelling, this could be a sign that the wound is infected. Healthy wound drainage can be managed by absorbent dressings like hydrocolloids or negative pressure therapy. Contact your health care provider to find out what types of wound care supplies you need to treat the infection.

4. Continual or Increased Pain

While pain is common after surgery, it should gradually subside as your body heals. Pain medication can help, but you should be able to stop taking them comfortably over time. To prevent unwarranted pain, follow your doctor’s wound care directions and avoid strenuous activities. If you continue to experience pain or suddenly have increased pain, it may be a sign of infection. If this happens, consult with your surgeon or physician.

5. Redness and Swelling

Infected Burn Wound Symptoms

Some redness is normal at the wound site, but it should diminish over time. However, if your surgical incision or wound continues to be red or exhibit radiating streaks known as lymphangitis, this is a warning sign of a wound infection. Like redness, some swelling is to be expected at the wound site and should decrease over time. If the swelling does not go down during the initial phases of the wound healing process, you could have an infection.

Infected Burn Wound Picture

6. Hot Incision Site

Infected Burn Wound Treatment

When an infection develops in a wound or incision, the body sends infection-fighting blood cells to the location. This may make your wound or incision feel warm to the touch. If the hot temperatures continue, the infection may cause you to develop other infection symptoms.

Infected Burn Wound Treatment

Effective management of a wound infection requires a multidisciplinary approach. It is essential to implement best practices and use advanced wound care products to prevent infections.