An abscess is a tender mass surrounded by a colored area on the skin. It is easy to feel just by touching and can appear at any part of your body. Most of these conditions are often caused by infections and are full of debris, bacteria, and pus. The only way an abscess can be cured is when it is opened and drained. Although there are times when abscess draining can occur on its own, there are situations when you need to see a doctor. In this article, we will be covering abscess drainage and give reasons why you need immediate medical attention.
What Causes Abscess?
Bacterial infection is one of the common causes of an abscess. It occurs when bacteria enters your body through an injury or wound. People with poor hygiene habits, a weakened immune system, and chronic illnesses are at a higher risk of bacterial infection. Another way you can get the infection is if you come into close contact with a person who is already infected.
- Infected Hair Follicles
Abscesses can also form on the skin if your hair follicles have been infected. This usually happens when the hair within the follicle cannot break through the skin because it is trapped beneath. Hair follicles that have been trapped are known as ingrown hairs and can occur after shaving. It can also happen to you if you spent time in a pool or hot tub that was inadequately chlorinated.
Signs that you need to see a doctor about abscess drainage
Although you can treat an abscess at home, some situations require the intervention of a doctor or medical professional.
- If it does not heal with home treatment
Skin abscess can be drained at home by placing a warm compress on the affected area. A face towel can be of much help if you use warm water to squeeze out the abscess. However, if you do not see any improvement with home remedies then you might have to see your doctor for proper treatment.
- If it becomes more swollen, painful and red
The process of draining an abscess might bring a lot of pain and suffering to the infected individual. It would be wise to seek medical help if the abscess continues to swell or becomes more painful with every attempt of drainage.
- If you develop fever or chills
High body temperature or fever is another symptom that might occur before or after abscess drainage. If you start experiencing any signs of chills or fever, it is advisable to see a doctor who can prescribe medications and other remedies for your condition.
- If it reappears after drainage
When an abscess reappears after treating the initial problem, it is most likely that the bacterial infection spread to other parts of your body. This can happen if a portion of the abscess touches a different part of your skin during drainage as it spreads the infection further. When an abscess reappears, you need to see your doctor so that they can provide proper treatment for the infection.
- Compromised immune system
A single abscess can be treated at home but can also result in further complications if no proper treatment is provided. Individuals with a compromised immune system need more attention because their condition could worsen if no proper treatment is provided. This also includes people who received an organ transplant and those suffering from chronic illnesses.
How to prevent skin abscess
There are several ways to minimize your chances of developing an abscess. Since it is caused by a bacterial infection, you need to maintain proper hygiene by living a healthy lifestyle. This includes washing your hands regularly with soap to get rid of bacteria and germs. All cuts and scrapes need to be cleaned with sterilized equipment and materials before you apply an antibacterial ointment. In order to keep your cuts and wounds from being infected by bacteria, you need to cover them using a bandage. It is also advisable not to share personal items such as razors, sheets, towels, clothing, and makeup to avoid spreading bacteria.
Abscess drainage needs to be done with proper care to prevent the bacterial infection from spreading to other parts of your body. Exercising good hygiene is essential for your overall health as it minimizes the risk of getting the bacteria that causes an abscess. If your condition becomes worse or you develop fever and chills, it is important to see a doctor who can diagnose your condition and administer proper treatment.
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