Wounds and sores 307
Treatment of open wounds and sores that are infected:
Wounds and sores are infected if they:
• become red, swollen, hot, and painful.
• have pus in them.
• begin to smell bad.
Treat the infected area as in steps 1 through 4 on the
previous page, and also do the following:
1. P ut a hot compress over the wound 4 times a day for
20 minutes each time. Or try to soak the wound in a
bucket of hot water with soap or potassium permanganate in
the water. Use one teaspoon of potassium permanganate to
4 or 5 liters (or quarts) of water. When you are not soaking
the infected part, keep it raised up above the level of the heart.
2. If part of the wound looks gray or rotten, rinse it with
hydrogen peroxide after soaking it. Try to pick off the gray
parts with a clean piece of gauze or tweezers that have been
3. If you can, put gentian violet on the wound before putting on
4. If there are many infected sores at the same time, especially
with a fever, treat with antibiotics. Use erythromycin,
dicloxacillin or penicillin for 10 days (see the “Green Pages”).
➤ Be careful:
If you use too
very hot water, you
will burn the skin.
➤ A person with
severe skin infection
and fever may need
to start ART (see
Treatment of closed wounds that are infected (abscesses and boils):
Abscesses and boils are raised, red, painful lumps on the skin.
They are most common in the groin and armpits, and on the
buttocks, back, and upper legs.
If you notice a lump, start using warm compresses right away for 20
minutes, 4 times a day. Often this will make the lump open and the pus
inside will come out. Keep applying clean, warm cloths until the pus stops
coming out and the area begins to heal. Cover the lump with a loose,
clean bandage. If it becomes too large and painful, see a health worker
who has been trained to drain abcesses using sterile equipment. Use
erythromycin, dicloxacillin or penicillin for 10 days (see the “Green Pages”).
When to get help:
See a health worker trained to treat HIV and AIDS if you have a wound and:
• a fever.
• a red area around the wound is getting bigger.
Get medical help if you have a wound and:
• you can feel swollen glands in your neck, groin, or armpits.
• the wound has a bad smell, or brown or gray liquid comes out, or it turns black
and bubbles, or blisters form. This could be gangrene.
• you are taking antibiotics and not getting better.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012