Infected Burn, with Cream or Ointment and Dressing 

Your burn has become infected. This is often because skin germs (bacteria) have gotten into the burn area.

Home care

Follow these guidelines when caring for yourself at home:

  • Change your dressing as directed by your healthcare provider. If the bandage sticks, soak it off in warm water. A bandage left in place too long can make the infection worse.

  • Wash the area with soap and water to remove all cream, ointment, ooze, or scabs. You may do this in a sink, under a tub faucet, or in the shower. Rinse off the soap and pat dry with a clean towel. Look for signs of infection.

  • Apply antibiotic cream or ointment according to your healthcare provider's instructions. This will help prevent infection and keep the bandage from sticking.

  • Cover the burn with a nonstick gauze. Then wrap it with the bandage material.

  • If the bandage gets wet or dirty, change it.

  • You may use over-the-counter medicine to control pain, unless another pain medicine was prescribed. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease, talk with your provider before taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Also talk with your provider if you’ve had a stomach ulcer or GI (gastrointestinal) bleeding. Don’t give ibuprofen to children younger than 6 months old.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. The infection should not get worse once you start treatment. Check the burn in 1 to 2 days for the signs of worsening infection listed below.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Pain in the wound gets worse

  • Redness, swelling, or pus coming from the wound gets worse

  • Fever of 100.4º F (38.0°C) or higher,or as directed by your healthcare provider

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