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Understanding Purulent Drainage: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Pus, or purulent discharge, is a fluid our body releases from an infection. It's how our body gets rid of bacteria. The word might sound scary but it's important to know the reasons, signs and right way to handle it. In this blog post, we will explore the topic of purulent drainage. We will talk about what it is, why it happens, and how it can be treated. 

What is Purulent Drainage?

Purulent drainage is a thick, yellow or green fluid. It's made up of dead white blood cells, bacteria and bits of tissue. It's a reaction when you develop an infection as your body tries to stop and get rid of it. When there's pus coming out, it usually means a bacterial infection. This calls for a doctor's help.


Different types of infections can cause pus to drain. Bacteria are the main reason for infections, with common ones including skin infections. When your body fights infection, white blood cells migrate and help contain and kill the bacteria. This makes pus form.


Color and Consistency: Pus usually looks the same - thick, and yellow or green color. This sets it apart from other kinds of body liquids.

Odor: Pus often smells bad because of bacteria. This can be another sign of an infection.

Swelling and Redness: The location of infection often shows signs of swelling and redness. These are the body's normal reactions to sickness.

Pain: Abscesses often are painful. 


Antibiotics: Antibiotics are often used to treat purulent drainage from bacterial infections after the abscess is drained. A doctor will culture it to find out what kind of bacteria is causing the infection and then choose the best antibiotic for it.

Wound Care: Taking care of wounds is very important for handling purulent drainage. This might need you to tidy up the place, put on germ-killing cream such as antibiotic ointment, and keep the area wrapped. 

Drainage: Sometimes, doctors or nurses might have to drain the pus. This can be done using methods like cutting and draining fluid, which helps to reduce the pain  and help healing.

Pain Management: A health worker can prescribe antibiotics to help w pain management. 


Purulent drainage is what happens when you have an abscess. Even though it can be nerve-wrecking, knowing why and what to watch for is very important for getting medical help quickly. If you see signs of infection like pus coming out, puffiness, redness or pain, it's important to talk to a doctor for checking and treating it right. Keep in mind, getting help right away can help treat and cure, leading to a faster healing process.

Learn more about SNF Wound Care’s very own wound care certification program by visiting https://bit.ly/3RUyOnT

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