Abscess – Everything About The Issue
Have you ever felt that intolerable pain on your skin just because of a boil? The worst part is it might come anywhere on your body. It will start as a boil and slowly will develop as a bump that appears below or within the surface of your skin. Usually, this bump is full of translucent fluid or pus, warm to touch, and it is typically due to a bacterial infection. However, most commonly abscesses might develop on the face, back, chest, buttocks, underarms or groin. Inflammation around your hair follicle can also lead to the formation of the abscess.
There are variuos types of abscess in general such as
- Anorectal abscess – a build-up of pus in the rectum and anus
- Quinsy abscess – a build-up of pus between one of your tonsils and the wall of your throat
- Dental abscess – a build-up of pus under a tooth or in the supporting gum and bone
- Bartholin’s abscess – a build-up of pus inside one of the Bartholin’s glands, that are found on each side of the opening of the vagina
- Spinal cord abscess – a build-up of pus around the spinal cord
- Brain abscess – a rare but potentially life-threatening build-up of pus inside the skull
- Pilonidal abscess – a build-up of pus in the skin of the cleft of the buttocks (where the buttocks separate)
Causes Of An Abscess:
Most of the abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection. When a bacteria enter your body, your immune system sends the infection-fighting white blood cells to the affected area. When the white blood cells attack the targeted bacteria, some of the nearby tissue dies, that ends up creating a hole which that fills with pus to form an abscess. This pus contains a mixture of white blood cells, dead tissue, and bacteria. There are plenty of causes for abscess, such as
- Minor erosion of the skin
- Inflammation of hair follicles
- Peripheral vascular disorders
- Obstruction of sweat glands and oil glands
- Common bacteria like staphylococci or bacillus
- Weakened immune systems
- Fungal infections
- Lack of Immunity
- Long-term steroid therapy
- Severe trauma
Signs And Symptoms Of Abscess You Must Know
As mentioned earlier, these Abscesses can occur anywhere in your body. But be aware as you will go through the following signs and symptoms in that region where you feel wired. The rest of the symptoms mostly depend on the location of the Abscess and it can change accordingly. However, internal abscesses are more serious as they can’t be seen from outside and a proper diagnosis is a must do on the later stage.
- Tenderness or pain
- Increased skin temperature
- Most of the abscesses will continue to get worse without proper care. The infection can even spread to the tissues under the specific skin where it is present already.
- It can also spread into the bloodstream.
- If your infection is spreading into deeper tissue, then you may develop a fever and begin to feel terribly ill.
How to Treat A Skin Abscess?
Usually, you can treat a skin abscess at home. You can apply heat to the abscess which can help the abscess shrink and drain. But the most useful way of applying heat is putting a warm compress on the abscess. Also, you can make a warm compress just by running warm water on a face towel, folding it before placing it on your abscess.
Visit your healthcare provider if the abscess is stubborn and doesn’t heal using the home remedies. They might want to drain it. In order to drain the abscess, your doctor will apply numbing medications and then will then cut the abscess open to the fluid to come out. Once the abscess drains, your doctor will pack the wound with the surgical material. This not only helps it to heal but also prevents the abscess from reoccurring.
Even severe cases of abscesses can be generally treated with antibiotics. Your doctor might also prescribe an antibiotic like cephalexin or dicloxacillin if you have any of the following:
- an abscess on the face, which has a higher risk of causing complications
- more than one abscess
- a compromised immune system
- If your doctor thinks that MRSA is the cause of your abscess, then they may prescribe doxycycline or clindamycin to fight the infection.
- After your treatment, the abscess will not return.
How to Prevent It?
You might not always be able to prevent an abscess. But, there are ways to minimize your chance of being a victim. Follow these steps to minimize the chances of getting one
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Keep your cuts and wounds bandaged.
- Clean all cuts and scrapes, even the small ones, with water and soap and apply an antibacterial ointment.
- It is best not to share your personal items, like towels, razors, sheets, athletic equipment, clothing, and makeup.
When should you seek medical care?
- The sore is larger than 1 cm or half an inch across
- The person has an underlying illness such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell disease, diabetes, or peripheral vascular disease since their immunity system will be weak.
- The sore fails to heal or it continues to enlarge and becomes more painful.
- The person is an IV drug abuser.
- The sore is located at the top of the buttock crease, or if it is on or near the rectal or groin area.
- If the person is on chemotherapy, steroid therapy, other drugs that suppress the immune system, or dialysis.
- There is a concern that there is foreign material within a wound or under the skin.
- The person is pregnant.
- The person has a fever of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher.
- The abscess gets better but then returns.
In most of the cases, there is no specific reason for the occurrence of an abscess. So, it is important to maintain a healthy Diet and Lifestyle that your body needs. In order to get rid of the problems, ensure maintaining a hygiene lifestyle and keep on toiling towards the heights of health.