Purulent: What Is It and What Are Its Causes?

Purulent is a type of microbial infection caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi, which produces pus. It is also known as suppurative infection. Purulent infections can be localized in one area, or they may spread throughout the entire body. Purulent infections can cause a wide range of symptoms, including chills, fever, pain, and swollen lymph nodes. In some cases, purulent infections can be life-threatening.

Purulent infections are most commonly caused by bacteria. Common bacterial causes include: Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Neisseria spp., and Escherichia coli. Viral and fungal causes of purulent infections are less common.

Treatment for purulent infections is usually antibiotics. It is important to take all doses of antibiotics as prescribed by a healthcare provider. Failing to properly treat a purulent infection can lead to serious complications.

Risk Factors

Certain factors increase the risk of developing a purulent infection, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system
  • Surgery
  • Tattoos and piercings
  • Burns and other skin injuries
  • Presence of foreign bodies in the body, such as tubes or catheters


The symptoms of purulent infections vary depending on the severity and location of the infection. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain at the site of the infection
  • Redness or warmth at the site of the infection
  • Red streaks radiating from the site of the infection
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Shaking or shivering


If left untreated, a purulent infection can lead to complications, such as:

  • Sepsis
  • Organ damage
  • Spread of the infection to other parts of the body
  • Gangrene
  • Death


The following measures can help prevent purulent infections:

  • Practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly.
  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, razors, and toothbrushes.
  • Eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep.
  • If you have a weakened immune system, take steps to strengthen your immune system.
  • If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control.
  • Avoid skin injuries or interruptions, such as cuts, punctures, or piercings.
  • Maintain a sterile environment when performing medical procedures.