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Patient Education - Wound Care Flags

Green flag = Good signs

  • No fever
  • No wound odor
  • No change in pain or less pain in wound and surrounding area
  • No change in wound drainage amount or color
  • Less drainage from wound
  • Skin around wound has not changed in color or redness around wound is decreasing
  • You have the supplies you need to care for the wound
  • You or someone caring for you knows how to care for the wound
  • You are eating and drinking fluids as usual

What should I continue to do?

Continue with your wound care plan

Watch out for yellow and red flags

If you have Diabetes continue to monitor your blood sugar

Continue to talk with your health provider about how to manage your wound(s)

Yellow flag = Watch out!

  • Increase in wound drainage amount
  • Change of wound drainage color to bright yellow or blue/green
  • Change in wound odor
  • Wound is getting bigger in size or not progressing
  • The skin around the wound feels warmer than usual
  • You have a fever
  • Increase in pain levels in the wound and surrounding area
  • If you have diabetes, your blood sugars are higher than usual
  • You have less than 5 days of wound care supplies
  • You or someone caring for you is unsure how to care for the wound
  • You have a change in appetite and fluid intake
  • You have a change in mobility and/or ability to perform normal activities of daily living

What should I do next?

Call your wound care provider to let them know what is different

If you have a home health nurse, let them know what is different

Call your primary care provider to let them know what is different

If you need supplies to care for your wound, contact your supplier

Take your temperature and record it

Red flag = Get help!

  • Fever, chills or flu-like feeling
  • Change in wound pain that is now severe
  • Worsening foul smell from the wound
  • Your wound changes from its usual color to black
  • Redness around wound that is new or worsening
  • You are eating or drinking very little or losing weight
  • You are vomiting, have nausea, profuse sweating
  • You have a decrease in mobility and/or ability to perform your normal activities of daily living
  • If you have Diabetes, your blood sugars are not controlled or much higher than usual
  • If you feel confused or disoriented

What should I do right away?

Call your wound care provider immediately and let them know what is different

If wound care provider is unavailable, call your primary care provider

If you have a home health nurse, let them know which Provider you have called

In the event of an emergency situation, consider visiting your local emergency center


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Every patient's case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor's specific instructions. Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

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