What is a wound?

A wound is any break or tear in the skin resulting from an accident, surgery, a skin condition like eczema or psoriaris, or an underlying condition like diabetes.

Wounds that occur suddenly and heal quickly are called acute. Chronic wounds are those that heal slowly or not at all, or reappear quickly.

Chronic wounds are Australia's hidden epidemic, affecting more than 450,000 people every year. Is your wound chronic? If you spot the chronic wound warning signs, please seek medical advice.

The chronic wound warning signs


Pain & heat

Is your wound red, hot, swollen and painful? 


Does the wound have a strange or unpleasant smell?

Excess fluid

Is your wound oozing a thick, yellowish fluid?

Slow healing

Is the wound taking more than a month to heal?

Chronic wounds can heal with the right diagnosis and the right treatment at the right time.

If your wound displays any of the chronic wound warning signs, it's time to seek support from a healthcare professional. You will find more information about chronic wounds, treatment options and sources of professional support in our factsheets.