Abscess is a bundle of tender mass feeling soft to touch. It is not like normal skin color and the color of the abscess varies from mild pink to dark pink and even red. Abscess contains a center region filled with pus like fluid. Abscess can be formed in any part of the body like tooth, arms, legs, and vagina and on your spine. Abscess is formed when the normal flow of sebaceous glands are obstructed and due to inflammation of hair follicles. Some other medical conditions can also cause an abscess. Abscess can be drained by removing the fluid inside it. If the doctor suspects any infection he would prescribe antibiotics.
Sebum is the oily fluid secreted by the sebaceous glands of the skin that keeps it soft and shining. If for any reason, the normal flow of the sebum is disturbed it accumulates to form an abscess. Abscess can be formed due to minor breaks or puncture or injury on the skin. Sometimes, germs can get into the skin causing an infection. The skin develops an abscess due to inflammation of the hair follicles.
An abscess contains a middle portion that is filled with debris, which is enveloped by a clear border pink in color. As more and more debris gets collected in the abscess it becomes inflamed and causes pain. People with weakened immunity, certain chronic disorders like diabetes, ulcers and certain medical conditions like cancer, leukemia, sickle cell disease, and peripheral vascular disorder have more chance for getting abscesses. A person who works in dirty environment and having more exposure to is at high risk of developing abscess. Poor body hygiene can also cause abscess.
An abscess would be different from rest of the skin with soft compressible mass. The color of the abscess would be in varying degrees of pink or red. It would be warm to touch and can cause pain if there is infection. Bacteria would continue to build up on the abscess entering into the tissues developing inflammation of the skin. The middle of an abscess would contain pus. In severe cases abscess (with infection) can cause fever and discomfort.
An abscess can be easily detected by its appearance and color. If the abscess is found in your arm or leg, your doctor will press it firmly to check if there is any swelling in lymph gland.
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You can apply warm compress on the abscess if it is very small in size. Dip a soft cloth in warm water and apply it gently on the abscess for about half-an-hour. Repeat this process several times a day. This home remedy can help in draining the debris from the abscess. Don’t use a needle or pin to drain the abscess which might make the infection worse.
If you have pain and inflammation on the abscess, or painful sores on your groin or rectal area, or if the size of the abscess is over 1cm, you can visit your GP. Often small sized abscess will drain naturally without wanting any treatment. Large sized abscess with pain indicates infection. For some people red streak will start leaking from the abscess indicating the lymph nodes are damaged.
Your doctor would drain the abscess by opening it. Depending on the area of abscess and its size you will be given local anesthesia before the procedure. For draining large sized abscesses you will be given mild sedative. The doctor will initially clean the abscess area with sterile water and make a small incision to cut open the abscess and gently drain the pus inside. You would be asked to leave the area open for a day or two to facilitate complete healing. A bandage would be applied on the infected area and suitable antibiotics are given.
You would feel much better once the abscess is drained. Your doctor may give you painkillers if you have excess of pain in the infected area. Ensure that you are removing the package as per the doctor’s instructions and in case of any swelling or redness on the site you should report your doctor without any delay.
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Maintain good hygiene by taking bathe twice a day and using mild cleansing agent. Do not leave any wound or cuts untreated. Avoid sharing personal things with others to prevent any skin infection.