Infectious Diseases Management in Wound Care Settings: Common Causative Organisms and Frequently Prescribed Antibiotics

Adv Skin Wound Care. 2022 Oct 1;35(10):535-543. doi: 10.1097/01.ASW.0000855744.86686.ea.


General purpose: To provide information about the management of infected wounds in wound care settings.

Target audience: This continuing education activity is intended for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses with an interest in skin and wound care.

Learning objectives/outcomes: After participating in this educational activity, the participant will:1. Identify a host factor that may predispose a patient to a wound infection as well as characteristics of each stage of wound infection.2. Distinguish a common organism that causes early, acute wound infections and explain the preferred method for obtaining a wound specimen for culture.3. Apply knowledge of commonly prescribed antibiotics in wound care settings.

Plain language summary

Although all chronic wounds are colonized by microbes and not all wounds are infected, antibiotics are widely prescribed in wound care settings. Antibiotic misuse in wound care occurs for many reasons, including diagnostic uncertainty regarding the presence of a bacterial infection, insufficient clinician knowledge about when antibiotics are necessary, clinicians’ fear of achieving unfavorable patient outcomes, and patient demand. Understanding wound infection stages and proper wound assessment are essential to differentiate infected wounds from colonized wounds. Adequate knowledge of microbiology and commonly prescribed antibiotics in wound care settings is critical to optimize antimicrobial management. In this article, the authors review wound infection stages, host resistant factors, and microbial virulence factors that affect the progression of wound infection, specimen collection, common causative organisms, and commonly prescribed antibiotics in wound care settings.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Communicable Diseases*
  • Humans
  • Skin
  • Wound Healing
  • Wound Infection* / drug therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents