Three Signs a Burn Is Infected and When to Visit Your Local Urgent Care

A burn on a woman's hand

Burns from gas stoves, lanterns and campfires are among the most common household injuries in the United States. Heat, sunlight, chemicals, electricity and radiation can also cause severe burn damage. Mild burn injuries often damage the top layers of skin, while more serious burn injuries may damage tissue like fat, muscle or even bone.

When does a burn need urgent care?

Seek urgent medical care for burns that:

  • Cover the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or a large area of the body
  • Affect all layers of skin as well as deeper tissues
  • Cause the skin to look leathery
  • Appear charred or have patches of brown, black or white
  • Cause difficulty breathing

How can I tell if a burn is infected?

Burns cause openings on the skin and are therefore very prone to infection. Here are three signs your burn may be infected and need medical treatment:

  1. A change in color
    Any change in color of the burnt area or the skin surrounding it may signal infection. If you notice swelling with purplish discoloration, it’s time to visit your local urgent care center.
  2. Discharge
    Green discharge or pus that has a bad smell are good indicators of infection. Avoid further skin damage or illness by visiting your local urgent care as soon as possible.
  3. Fever
    A fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit that does not go away for more than 24 hours may indicate an infection. Prompt medical attention is needed to avoid further complications.

If your burns are not healing properly and/or you are experiencing any of the above signs of an infected burn, we urge you to visit your nearest urgent care clinic. Oxford Urgent Care is open seven days a week from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm for walk-in appointments.