Treating pus from a cut depends upon the severity of the cut and whether symptoms are involved. Pus always indicates the presence of a bacterial infection, as it is part of the body's immune response. If the pus is draining, it should be gently cleaned with warm water and soap. Antibacterial products can be used, but hydrogen peroxide should never be poured directly on the cut because, although peroxide is effective in eliminating bacteria, flooding the wound with it can cause tissue damage.
A cut that is oozing pus should be evaluated by a healthcare provider who can determine if topical or oral antibiotics are needed. Sometimes, both types are recommended, especially in wounds that are deep or severe. While waiting to see the healthcare professional, the individual can apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment and then cover it with a sterile bandage. After a few days, the bandage can be removed and the cut exposed to air.
Sometimes, pus from a cut can look pink or red as a result of it mixing with blood. This is referred to as blood-tinged pus and is not generally an indication of the severity of the cut. Other variations of pus include its consistency, which can range from thin to extremely viscous, which is characteristically very thick and sticky. In addition, ot can look yellow, green, or even brown.
Occasionally, this discharge can be a sign of a systemic infection that may also produce fever, chills, and body aches. When this occurs, a medical professional needs to be notified, because if not treated, complications can arise. In addition, if there are red streaks around from the cut, emergency medical attention should be sought. This can indicated blood poisoning, and if not promptly recognized and treated, it can lead to an unfavorable prognosis.
A cut that is infected and contains pus should not be lanced or drained at home. Done under less-than-sterile conditions, this can cause the infection to spread or worsen. Draining the pus should only be attempted in a sterile setting, in the office of a medical professional or emergency department. After the injury has been drained, the wound is typically covered with antibiotic ointment and then dressed with a sterile bandage or dressing.