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Infectious Wounds

An infectious wound, also known as an abscess or boil, is a collection of pus that has accumulated in a cavity. It forms as a result of an accumulation of abnormal bacteria or infection. The cavity or capsule of the abscess keeps the pus from infecting other parts of the body. However, it also limits the ability of the body’s own healing factors to reach and resolve the source of infection.


  • Abscesses commonly present as a soft, raised area on the skin. The area is commonly filled with pus (thick yellow drainage). The drainage is often odorous.

  • Abscesses are commonly accompanied by the cardinal signs of infection which are detailed below:

  • Redness, tenderness, warmth, or swelling around the area

  • A foul odor or pus from the wound

  • Fever, weakness, and confusion are signs that the infection may have spread to the blood or elsewhere in the body.

Care Basics

  • Never puncture the abscess yourself. This can introduce additional and even deadly bacteria into the wound.

  • Keep the area clean, dry, and covered.

  • Perform good hand-washing before and after any contact with the wound or the wound drainage.


Treatment of a wound abscess commonly requires antibiotics and/or surgical intervention. This must be provided by a physician. Seek medical attention if you have a suspected or known abscess. Do not attempt manage this wound at home. Prompt medical attention can result in a quick resolution and prevent complications.

Contact your physician immediately if there are any signs of an infection. An infection can spread to the rest of the body and cause serious problems.

This information is for educational purposes, only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The iWOC Foundation disclaims any liability for any decisions made based on this information.