When the skin barrier is broken, even small tears or inflammation, bacteria can penetrate and start to multiply. The body then activates its defense system to try to kill and destroy the bacteria by accumulating pus or abscess.
An abscess is a collection of pus in the skin and is usually characterized by pain and pink or red pigmentation. A vast majority of the abscess is caused by a bacterial infection.
An abscess can show up in any place in the body. In most cases, the tender mass develops in the skin. But, it may also occur in internal organs and you will need emergency care in Baytown.
The most common places on the skin include the base of the spine, rectum, and groin area. You can also develop a dental abscess, where the pus accumulates in the gum. An inflammation or obstruction in the hair follicle can also lead to abscess formation (mostly known as boil or furuncle).
Skin abscess develops when bacteria enter the body and the immune system reacts by sending white blood cells into the area. The white blood cells then attack the bacteria causing the nearby tissues to die, hence creating a hole. This hole fills with pus and then forms an abscess.
The internal abscess, on the other hand, develops as a complication to an existing condition like burst appendix or pneumonia.
Besides bacterial infection, several factors may increase your likelihood of developing an abscess. These include:
An abscess develops as a tender little bump and is mostly accompanied by pain and feels warm to the touch. However, the area can also be hard and firm depending on the cause.
At times, the appearance of the abscess may be accompanied by fever, swollen lymph nodes, and nausea.
The treatment of abscess will depend on the severity. Small skin abscesses can drain naturally, shrink, or dry and disappear without using a treatment. An abscess can be treated using the following options:
If the abscess is small, you can treat and manage the pain at home. A warm compress to the affected area for 30 minutes, three to four times daily can help ease the pain. Although the abscess can be treated at home, do not try to squeeze or press it. This might push the infected material to the deeper tissues and trigger inflammation.
Also, avoid using sharp instruments or needles because you may injure an underlying blood vessel and cause the infection to spread to the surrounding tissues.
2. Incision and drainage
If the skin abscess does not dry up and you need to drain it, you’ll probably need to visit an ER near you for treatment.
A small operation is carried out to drain the pus. The doctor will cut the skin abscess and allow the pus to drain and clean the area using a saline solution.
The area is left open, but it will be covered with a wound dressing. The doctor may place a gauze wick or antiseptic dressing if the abscess is deep.
Internal abscesses, on the other hand, need either a needle or surgery.
In most cases, antibiotics alone may not cure an abscess. However, the doctor may still prescribe the medication, especially for people who have a weakened immune system.
The doctor may recommend surgery if you have an internal abscess that is too large and cannot be drained by a needle. The type of surgery done will depend on the size of the internal abscess.
Visit an emergency room near you if you notice:
An Abscess is treatable, but when left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Visit ER in 77521 or Altus Emergency Center (Baytown) if you notice the abscess is enlarging.