Signs a wound is septic include the presence of green or yellow pus, skin redness around the wound, the appearance of red streaks on the skin or sudden fever, according to MedicineNet. Additional signs include pain and swelling around the wound and a foul odor.
An open wound may become septic when the bacteria present on the patient's body, or bacteria transfer from another person or object makes contact with the wound, states WebMD. Not all types of wounds exhibit the same signs of bacterial infection, however. Puncture wounds, for example, may not bleed or cause an odorous discharge when infected, reports MedicineNet.
Cleaning all wounds thoroughly and completing an antibiotic treatment typically prevents patients from developing septic wounds. If left untreated, bacteria may enter a patient's body and spread to other areas, claims Wound Care Centers. Patients should receive medical care within six hours after the injury occurs, claims MedicineNet.
Elderly people, those with diabetes or those with weak immune systems should seek medical attention for wounds as these patients cannot easily fight bacterial infections without treatment, according to WebMD. Patients with HIV or those receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer may not be able to easily combat a bacterial infection.