How to tell if a wound is healing or infected

How to tell if a wound is healing or infected?

How to tell if a wound is healing or infected?

The human body begins to mend itself after a cut, accident, or surgery. Your body begins to recover itself within minutes after an accident, but this process isn’t always simple. The mending process may not always proceed as planned. Wounds can linger longer than they should and, in some situations, develop into chronic wounds.

So, how can you tell if your wound is effectively healing? What’s more, how can you know if a wound is infected and requires medical attention?

Continue reading to learn about the stages of wound healing and what to do if your wound isn’t healing properly.

What causes an infected wound?

Wounds can occur on any part of the body. They frequently arise as a result of trauma, such as cuts or lacerations, or surgery.

When germs or bacteria enter the sensitive tissues beneath our skin through a wound, it can become infected. Infection can set in anywhere from two to three days after the injury has occurred until it has healed visibly.

Wound infection symptoms

It’s critical to recognize the signs of a wound infection so you know when to contact your doctor for treatment. All wounds, even minor ones, have the potential to become chronic wounds over time, so you should keep an eye on them while they heal.

Learn about the symptoms of an infected cut to determine if a wound is healing or infected:


Your wound will often feel warm at the start of the healing process. Because white blood cells are battling germs or bacteria, this is the case. However, if the injury is heated after the first five days, it could indicate that your body is fighting bacteria and infection.


After you’ve incurred an injury, the area may be swollen, sore, and red in color. This is typical because blood is being pumped into the area to provide oxygen and other nutrients that will aid in the healing process. If, however, the wound is still red and puffy after five days, your body is not healing properly.

Discharge (pus)

Infected cuts oozing hazy, yellowish drainage or purulent discharge with a strong or foul odor, swelling, and increased discomfort are signs of infection.


Following an injury, pain is unavoidable. The agony will almost certainly be more intense if you have a deep cut. However, if you have persistent pain, it could be an indication of infection, especially if it is not proportional to the size of the injury you’ve experienced. With pain medication, your discomfort should reduce rather than worsen.


Once an infection has taken hold, it will enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body, resulting in a fever and other symptoms.

Movement is restricted

Excess numbness or discomfort from infected wounds might make it difficult to move or function normally in the area.


An infection is indicated when a pimple-like crust forms on an injury. With time, this pimple grows in size.

Soft Scab

While somewhat pink or reddish skin around the cut is typical, a scab that grows in size over time could be an indication of infection.


Swelling in the damaged area, like redness around the incision, signals that the body’s immune system is operating. However, if the swelling persists after 3-5 days with no symptoms of diminishing, an infection is present.

Node Swelling

Swollen lymph nodes usually suggest that the body’s immune system is fighting an infection. The growth of a big, sore node at the wounded place, on the other hand, could indicate an infected wound.

Signs that your wound is healing

Hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and maturation are the four medical stages of healing for grazes, traumas, and surgical incisions. The following are some frequent wound healing indicators that indicate your wound is on the mend:


Bleeding, clotting, and scabbing are the three stages of wound healing for general cuts and puncture wounds. If your wound is still bleeding after a long amount of time and no scab has formed, you should seek medical attention.


Swelling indicates that your immune system is working to heal your wound. Blood vessels dilate to allow more oxygen, vitamins, and minerals to reach your injury. This period should last no more than five days.

Tissue Development

You’ll notice new tissue developing over the wound when the swelling has subsided — this normally takes a few weeks.


This is proof that you’ve recovered. The scab will eventually fall off, leaving you with a scar. If your damage was serious, it may stay with you for a long time or gradually fade away.

How can I keep a wound from becoming infected?

Accidental accidents, minor grazes, and surgical incisions require the utmost care and attention to avoid infection. It is vital to clean and protect the damaged region while keeping it free of infection. Wounds that are deeper and larger require more attention and monitoring, and they do not heal overnight.

Frequently asked questions

How can you know if you have a dangerous infection?

A significant infection is one that is red and sore even days after the incident. When a patient has a fever, feels nauseous, has a rash with body aches, and has a general feeling of malaise, it’s a sign that the infection needs to be treated.

How long does it take for infected wounds to heal?

All wounds heal differently, and the length of time it takes depends on a variety of factors including medical history, age, and comorbidities. It all depends on the location of the injury, how it happened, and how far the illness has gone. The infection may take days, weeks, or even months to clear up in certain situations.

How do you tell whether a wound is infected?

The infection is spreading if the surrounding skin is red and inflamed, and the infection has spread to the tissues beneath the skin (cellulitis). Sepsis or a serious disease that could lead to death could be the result.


There are a number of things that can indicate that a wound is healing or is still infected, and we have explored most of them in this article.

Cuts and scrapes are an unavoidable part of life, but obtaining medical attention when they occur is critical. If infected wounds are not closely monitored, they can be lethal. Cellulitis, sepsis, osteomyelitis, and necrotizing fasciitis are all serious problems that can occur.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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