A skin abscess is swollen lump under the surface of the skin that is filled with pus, usually because of a bacterial infection.
Abscesses can occur anywhere in the body. The immune system fights bacteria entering the body by sending white blood cells to the affected area. As these white blood cells attack the bacteria, the nearby tissue dies, resulting in a hole filled with pus (which is the abscess). The pus is basically a mixture of white blood cells, dead tissue, and bacteria.
A tiny skin abscess may drain, or shrink and dry up on its own without any treatment. However, for bigger abscesses, there may be a need for antibiotics to clear the infection and to drain the pus by inserting a needle or by making a small incision over the abscess.
How can Skin Abscess be Prevented?
Most abscesses happen when bacteria enter the body through a minor wound or cut, a blocked oil or sweat gland, or the root of a hair. Make sure that your skin is always clean and healthy to prevent skin abscesses from developing.
- Proper handwashing does a great job in making sure bacteria do not spread. Also, encourage your family to do the same.
- Never share baths and towels
- Do not use any communal equipment such as swimming pools, gym equipment, or saunas, if you have a skin abscess.
- Avoid squeezing the pus from the abscess yourself. Doing so will only spread the bacteria.
- Dispose of any cotton or tissue used to wipe the pus. Wash your hands after.
- Try to avoid nicking your skin when shaving.
- Never share razors and toothbrushes with anyone.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
- Lose weight if you are obese or overweight
- Do your best to quit smoking.
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