Most people believe that the site of a pyogenic tissue infection is markedly warmer than the uninvolved tissues of the body. In the same tradition, heated wet dressings have been used for the treatment of local infections since the beginning of recorded medical history. These ideas persist, although the medical literature contains little specific information pertaining to either impression.
Recently Waterman and associates1 investigated the effects of temperature changes on the sensitivity of a pathogenic staphylococcus to different antibiotics. It was found that the temperature of peripheral tissue infections usually varied between 35 and 37 C. Most pyogenic tissue infection-site temperatures were below the oral, rectal, and central body temperatures. Though the site of infection appeared to be quite hot, it was in fact only relatively warmer than the adjacent uninfected soft tissues.
In another study, on the effects of various dressings on the skin and subcutaneous temperature, Waterman
INFECTION, TISSUE TEMPERATURES, AND DRESSINGS. JAMA. 1967;201(11):876–877. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130110102033