ABSCESS - Overview and Facts

ABSCESS

An abscess is the way of the body to help treat an infection. It arises when other germs, fungi, or bacteria infect the body and produce an infection, generally through an open wound such as a cut.

When this happens, the body’s immune system is stimulated, and white blood cells (WBCs) are released to aid in the battle against the infection. These WBCs, together with other debris, may accumulate in wounds and cause pus to develop.  Moreover, when pus accumulates and cannot drain, the area becomes a painful abscess.

TYPES

Different types of abscesses may be found in the following locations:

  • skin abscesses
  • anal abscesses
  • pilonidal abscesses
  • dental abscesses
  • breast abscesses

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of an abscess may include the following:

  • smooth swelling under the skin
  • redness and warmth in affected areas
  • high temperature
  • tenderness and pain in affected areas
  • chills
  • visible development of yellow or white pus in affected areas under the skin

DIAGNOSIS

To search for abscesses, your health care expert has to go through your medical records with you and perform a physical exam. A thorough physical examination will help your doctor determine if abscesses result from ingrown hair or an injury.

Your doctor may also take a fluid culture from the abscess to screen for the infection’s presence.  Other tests are not required to identify abscesses.

However, if you’ve had recurring skin infections and your doctor suspects an underlying medical problem, they may request for a urine or blood sample.

TREATMENT

You may quickly treat abscesses at home. Heat applied to abscesses might help it drain and shrink. The most effective way to administer heat is to place a warm compress on abscesses. You may make warm compresses by putting warm water over a face towel and folding it before applying it to abscesses.

Drainage

Consult your doctor if abscesses are persistent and do not heal with home remedies. For such cases, your doctor will have to drain it.

In draining abscesses, your doctor will first use numbing medications before cutting open your abscess to enable the fluid to flow out. Then, your healthcare professional will pack the wound with surgical materials once the abscesses drain. It promotes healing and prevents abscesses from recurring.

Antibiotics

Typically, antibiotics are used to treat severe skin abscesses. If you show symptoms, your doctor may recommend antibiotics.

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