The article explains abscess treatment and causes. You may have seen or experienced the development of a round, itchy, puss-filled growth on the surface of the skin that is often hard to get rid of, this is medically referred to as an abscess.
An abscess is an infection that leads to a collection of puss; and this yellowish liquid consists of white blood cells, dead body tissues, and germs. It can develop in different areas of the body on the surface of the skin or even inside the body.
The infection can cause pains, itching, and discomfort and can be an indication of underlying disease, the severity of symptoms differs based on the area of the body affected. Abscess is quite common and affects mostly young people of both genders with common sites being in the armpits, inner thighs, rectal area (perirectal abscess) and around the vagina (Bartholin's abscess).
Abscess also affects internal organs of the body, this usually occurs after an infection of the affected organ. For example, an abscess can develop in the liver after a pneumonia infection, the dental abscess can also occur from an infection of the teeth. An abscess can also be formed in the brain following a deeply penetrating injury to the head.
When abscess occurs externally on the skin surface, it can be easily treated, but when it develops internally in organs, it can become a life-threatening condition.
An abscess is caused by the reaction of the body’s defence mechanism to an inflammation. This inflammation often results from an infectious attack by bacteria or from an injury caused by a foreign substance such as a needle or splinter. The inflammation triggers the release of white blood cells and chemicals which then leads to the breakdown of tissues in the affected area, resulting in a puss-filled cavity. The most common bacteria present in abscesses are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Skin abscess can also develop from sweat glands obstructed by dirt, inflamed hair follicles or even from surgical operations.
Abscesses are treated by draining out the pus, but caution should be taken in trying to press out the pus as this may push it deeper into underlying tissues. Also, do not use needles or sharp objects to puncture an abscess as this can damage a blood vessel or spread the infection further. Effective abscess treatment includes the following:
• Antibiotics: The use of antibiotics is very effective for abscess treatment when it’s associated with infections to the skin area. Effective antibiotics include cephalexin (Keflex), and azithromycin (Zithromax Z-pak).
• Warm press: Using a clean, warm and damp press on the affected area for about 30 minutes can suppress abscesses.
• Surgery: A minor procedure to tear open and drain abscesses is also used to treat the condition. This is done using a disinfected lance to make a small incision.
• Herbal ointments: Applying ointments with herbal extracts from aloe vera, garlic, and turmeric, which have strong anti-inflammatory properties can be very important in abscess treatment.
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