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Skin Abscess

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Definition

Skin abscess is a localized collection of pus and infected debris in or on the skin. Skin abscesses may occur anywhere on the body. They can develop after a minor skin wound, cut, injury, or as a complication of boils, folliculitis and hidradenitis.

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Causes

  • Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas, gram negative bacteria.
  • Fungus

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Symptoms

  • Pustule or a bump which is fluctuant
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Redness over the affected area.
  • Localized tenderness
  • Localized area of swelling
  • Pus or bloody discharge.

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Implications

The abscess can block or put pressure on the sebaceous and sweat glands. The infection may spread locally or systemically through the bloodstream, causing septicemia and death. The bacterial infection may appear as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender to touch; a condition called folliculitis. The deeper tissues may be affected causing painful areas and permanent destruction of the hair follicles.

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What You Can Do

  • Oral or topical antibiotics.
  • Hot packs applied to the abscesses
  • Treat minor superficial infections promptly
  • Keep the skin around minor wounds clean and dry to prevent bacterial infections
  • Surgical drainage of abscessed area can drain the pus and relieve pain and tenderness.
  • Surgical removal of involved skin in the affected area followed by skin grafting can be helpful

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Skin Abscess