Abscess

Abscess punctured

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Draining an abscess is a complex and risky procedure and must be done by a professional to ensure it doesn’t get further infected. While draining an abscess few things are an absolute mandate such as the instruments being sterile. This includes the gloves, blades, syringe, and dressing material. Never squeeze the abscess or press it with your fingers. Doctors usually begin the procedure by numbing the area with local anesthesia. The area will be covered with antiseptic agent and bandages to prevent further infection.
If the abscess is relatively small in size it can be treated at home. Applying heat can improve circulation to the affected area; brings more WBCs closer to the surface. This can be done 4-5 times a day for 20 minutes each time. You can also make use of anti-bacterial home remedies such as turmeric, tea tree oil, and Epsom salt for treating an abscess. Neem oil and castor oil are also beneficial in treating an abscess. Note that essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil before applying on the skin. If the abscess is larger, consult a doctor for treating/draining it.
Never attempt to drain a large abscess at home. If the abscess is small, it can be treated at home however it is unsafe to pop it. Popping, squeezing, and picking on the abscess will result in further infection and inflammation. Never touch an abscess with your bare hands. Always apply warm compress on it. Use a clean washcloth and lukewarm water and apply it gently on the abscess for few minutes, 4-5 times a day. In most cases it will drain naturally and heal on its own.
Abscess on tooth or periapical abscess doesn’t heal on its own and requires medical attention. If left untreated (or poorly treated) it can easily spread to other areas in your mouth and even your head and neck. A simple endodontic procedure called root canal can be done if the tooth abscess is small. In case it has spread to a larger area, the tooth would require extraction. An antibiotic course would be prescribed till the region has completely healed.

Overview

When bacteria invade the body, the immune system responds by attacking the pathogens and creating inflammation at the site of their entry. White blood cells arrive at the site to disable the bacteria. This process produces some amount of debris containing dead tissue, worn out immune cells and dead bacteria. You may have noticed this in the form of a thick, opaque fluid that is usually white or yellowish in color, although it can sometimes be greenish or blood-tinged as well. This is known as pus. The presence of pus indicates a bacterial infection.

What Is An Abscess?

Abscess woundWhen a pocket of pus accumulates somewhere beneath the skin or even deeper within the body’s tissues, it forms what is known as an abscess. Abscesses can be painful. Those located closer to the surface of the skin produces noticeable reddening and swelling. This can happen when a hair follicle or gland becomes clogged. Common skin boils are examples of abscesses.

When you have an infection somewhere within the body and it remains untreated, it can worsen to the extent of producing an abscess. In fact, abscesses are even known to form in vital organs such as the lungs and the brain. Those located deeper within the body are more difficult to pinpoint as the patient may only have a fever and some pain in the general area.

Unlike a pustule on the skin that may rupture and drain spontaneously, abscesses are usually treated by opening them and draining them by artificial means.

What Is Responsible For Abscess Formation?

Generally speaking, an abscess is the result of bacterial infection. The infection itself may be contracted in any number of ways. Bacteria may penetrate the skin through minor cuts or large wounds. Alternatively, other kinds of abscesses such as those in the anal region may arise as the result of sexually transmitted infections. In other cases, the infection is already present in an organ such as the lungs or it may spread to that spot from a nearby organ and when this is allowed to go untreated, it can worsen and give rise to an abscess.

Hence, any condition that increases the probability of contracting infection is automatically treated as a potential risk factor for abscess formation. This is especially true of individuals with a weakened immunity.

Here are some scenarios that may be considered risk factors for abscesses:

  • Cuts or breaks in the skin.
  • Lack of personal hygiene.
  • Sharing personal products with individuals who have infections, particularly skin infections.
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected individual.
  • Untreated or severe infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.
  • Having an immune deficiency which may be acquired or congenital.
  • Weak immunity as a result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
  • HIV infection.
  • Long-standing illness such as cancer or diabetes.
  • Any condition that impairs blood circulation.
  • Postoperative infection.
  • Having intravenous tubes or catheters.
  • Substance abuse.

What Are The Signs And Indication Of An Abscess?

Abscess puncturedIf you have a relatively superficially located abscess, you will most probably notice the following indications:

  • Localised swelling, forming a lump or a boil.
  • The pus within may be visible.
  • Reddening at the site and around it.
  • The area is warm to the touch.
  • It may be tender or painful. Sometimes there is a throbbing pain at the site of the abscess.
  • You may have a fever and chills.

More specific symptoms related to the exact location of the abscess. Those in the anal region will tend to cause pain during bowel movements. However, if an abscess is located internally, you may display no external signs apart from a fever.

What Are The Different Types Of Abscesses?

Broadly, abscesses may be classified depending on whether they are located closer to the skin surface or deeper within the body. As we have already seen, the kinds of symptoms that each type creates can vary significantly.

Further, abscesses may be described on the basis of their specific location. For example, there are documented instances of brain abscesses, lung abscesses, stomach abscesses and even abscesses in the prostate gland. The last mentioned type can occur as a result of untreated infection in the prostate gland which might itself be a complication of urinary tract infection or an STI. Lung abscesses can develop when the patient has an untreated lung infection.

Should I Be Worried About Any Complications?

Patients should avoid poking at an abscess or attempting to drain it on their own because this can cause the infection to spread even deeper into the body. This may give rise to more abscesses or even infections in nearby organs. In fact, the bacteria may even spread into the bloodstream and set off a potentially fatal condition known as sepsis. A less critical but nevertheless severe outcome may involve the localized death of tissue or gangrene in the affected area.

Stop the abscess from growing in size and getting infected with these doctor-recommended solutions.

How Are Abscesses Diagnosed And Treated?

Abscess eyelidIf you have a skin abscess, your doctor will be able to identify it upon visual and physical examination. Testing a pus sample from the site will help to identify the specific pathogen involved. Internally located abscesses may only be identified and precisely located with the help of imaging procedures such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

If you have multiple abscesses or recurring ones, your doctor may suspect a deeper underlying problem, one that impairs the immunity in some way. Depending on other symptoms displayed by the patient or guided by their medical history, other tests may be performed in order to pinpoint the underlying problem.

Smaller abscesses may rupture and clear up on their own. Larger ones will require incision and drainage. This task is best left to a medical professional. Drainage of an abscess may involve a minor surgical procedure and the wound will then be bound up to keep it sterile until it heals. In some cases, especially when the abscess is severe, the patient will also be prescribed antibiotic medications.

If it is a small skin abscess then it may well simply shrink or drain naturally, dry up, and disappear. In such situation, no treatment will be required.

But, if it is a large abscess then for clearing the infection you may have to take antibiotics. Additionally, it may become necessary to drain out the pus. For draining the pus your doctor will normally make a small incision in the skin at the location of the abscess.

Prevention

Skin abscesses occur when bacteria get into the root of a hair, a minor wound, or a blocked sweat gland. You can prevent chances of skin abscesses by making sure skin remains clean and healthy.

Few things you can do to stop bacteria from spreading include:

  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Use separate towels and do not share baths.
  • Wait for the abscess to fully heal before using any type of communal equipment like gym equipment.

Abscesses are fairly common and can be painful and inconvenient. They should not be ignored because allowing the infection to fester can actually lead to worse outcomes if the bacteria spread further into the body. With superficial abscesses, the good news is that treatment is fairly simple and quick and the condition is actually preventable if one does not have an underlying condition that permanently weakens one’s immunity. Maintaining basic personal hygiene and in one’s immediate surroundings can help to avoid such infections.

Draining an abscess is a complex and risky procedure and must be done by a professional to ensure it doesn’t get further infected. While draining an abscess few things are an absolute mandate such as the instruments being sterile. This includes the gloves, blades, syringe, and dressing material. Never squeeze the abscess or press it with your fingers. Doctors usually begin the procedure by numbing the area with local anesthesia. The area will be covered with antiseptic agent and bandages to prevent further infection.
If the abscess is relatively small in size it can be treated at home. Applying heat can improve circulation to the affected area; brings more WBCs closer to the surface. This can be done 4-5 times a day for 20 minutes each time. You can also make use of anti-bacterial home remedies such as turmeric, tea tree oil, and Epsom salt for treating an abscess. Neem oil and castor oil are also beneficial in treating an abscess. Note that essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil before applying on the skin. If the abscess is larger, consult a doctor for treating/draining it.
Never attempt to drain a large abscess at home. If the abscess is small, it can be treated at home however it is unsafe to pop it. Popping, squeezing, and picking on the abscess will result in further infection and inflammation. Never touch an abscess with your bare hands. Always apply warm compress on it. Use a clean washcloth and lukewarm water and apply it gently on the abscess for few minutes, 4-5 times a day. In most cases it will drain naturally and heal on its own.
Abscess on tooth or periapical abscess doesn’t heal on its own and requires medical attention. If left untreated (or poorly treated) it can easily spread to other areas in your mouth and even your head and neck. A simple endodontic procedure called root canal can be done if the tooth abscess is small. In case it has spread to a larger area, the tooth would require extraction. An antibiotic course would be prescribed till the region has completely healed.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Do take care while shaving underarms or face to avoid cuts.
  • If tissues are used for wiping the pus then such tissues should be disposed immediately. This will help in preventing germs from spreading.
  • Do consult your medical practitioner if you think there is something trapped under the skin.
Don'ts
  • Squeeze the pus out since it can easily spread bacteria to other parts of the skin.
  • Share toothbrushes and razors with the infected person.
  • Stick a needle into the abscess since there could be underlying blood vessels which will get injured.

 

 

 

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10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
Pelvic_ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound Pelvic ultrasound is a process where sound waves are used to create image of your pelvic region organs…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
immunoglobulin M
Immunoglobulin M Test Immunoglobulin M is the largest and the first produced antibody which helps in the prevention or fighting of…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
chloride test
Chloride Test A chloride test of the blood checks the level of chloride in body, an important factor governing the…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
ASTtest-liver
AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
top 10 deadliest diseases
What are the top 10 deadliest diseases and what is causing them? What are the largest killers of human lives across the globe? Which diseases are the most fatal ones?…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
toxo gondii igm test
Toxo Gondii-IgM Test The toxo gondii IgM test is a blood test that tells the presence or absence of toxoplasmosis IgM…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
PROLACTIN-(PRL)
Prolactin Test (PRL) Prolactin or PRL is a lactogenic hormone produced to induce milk production in lactating mothers. PRL test measures…
cardiolipin antibody igm
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) –IgM Test This particular test measures the level of IgM type antibodies in the blood by using the ELISHA test…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
carbamazepine
Carbamazepine / Tegretol test The carbamazepine is a drug that is used to treat epilepsy and the carbamazepine test is performed to…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
Sharpen your brain with these top brain-friendly foods! Did you know your diet could decide how razor sharp your memory is? Or that what you eat…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
labiaplasty
Labiaplasty Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to modify the labia minora and the labia majora. Learn about who can…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) –IgG Test The cardiolipin antibody IgG are responsible for the abnormal formation of clots in veins and arteries or phlebitis…
piles
Best treatment for piles in Bangalore All you need to know about piles and piles treatment in Bangalore - the types of treatment available,…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
free testosterone test
Free testosterone Free Testosterone Test measures and monitors the level of the free testosterone in the blood. Less than 4%…
Mood swings
The real reasons for your mood swings and how to overcome them Are you prone to heated moods frequently? Do you also feel bouts of depressive feeling creeping up on…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Gua sha: Scraping away layers of pain with this ancient healing tool Gua sha is an ancient oriental healing method which focuses on scraping the body with specific tools to…
hsv-igg
Herpes simplex virus (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody which stays in the blood…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
Olive Leaf Extract: The healthy goodness of olives in a capsule Olive oil is not the only gift from the Olea Europea tree. Olive leaf extract itself is a…

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