Site Map

Osteomyelitis - discharge

Bone infection - discharge

You or your child has osteomyelitis. This is a bone infection caused by bacteria or other germs. The infection may have started in another part of the body and spread to the bone.

At home, follow the health care provider's instructions on self-care and how to treat the infection. Use the information below as a reminder.

Images

Osteomyelitis

I Would Like to Learn About:

When You're in the Hospital

If you or your child was in the hospital, the surgeon may have removed some infection from your bones or drained an abscess.

What to Expect at Home

The doctor will prescribe medicines (antibiotics) for you or your child to take at home to kill the infection in the bone. At first, the antibiotics will likely be given into a vein in the arm, chest, or neck. At some point, the doctor may switch the medicine to antibiotic pills.

While you or your child is on antibiotics, the provider may order blood tests to check for signs of toxicity from the medicine.

The medicine will need to be taken for at least 3 to 6 weeks. Sometimes, it may need to be taken for several months.

Self-care

If you or your child is getting antibiotics through a vein in the arm, chest, or neck:

If the medicine needs to be stored at home, be sure to do it the way your provider told you to.

You must learn how to keep the area where the IV is clean and dry. You also need to watch for signs of infection (such as redness, swelling, fever, or chills).

Make sure you give yourself the medicine at the right time. DO NOT stop the antibiotics even when you or your child begins to feel better. If all of the medicine is not taken, or it is taken at the wrong time, the germs may become harder to treat. The infection may come back.

If you or your child had surgery on the bone, a splint, brace, or sling may need to be worn to protect the bone. Your provider will tell you whether you or your child can walk on the leg or use the arm. Follow what your provider says you or your child can and can't do. If you do too much before the infection is gone, your bones may get injured.

If you or your child has diabetes, it is very important to keep your or your child's blood sugar under control.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if:

Related Information

Osteomyelitis
Femur fracture repair - discharge
Hip fracture - discharge

References

Berbari EF, Steckelberg JM, Osmon DR. Osteomyelitis. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 106.

Dabov GD. Osteomyelitis. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 21.

BACK TO TOP

Review Date: 9/22/2018  

Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM Quality Logo

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, for Health Content Provider (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2019 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.