Abscess is something that people may perceive as common skin problem, but skin abscess can give more trouble than small skin disfigurement. Untreated abscess can make your skin disfigured severely and lower self confidence, and its symptoms can develop into serious health condition. Also, the presence of chronic abscess may indicate serious trouble related to other health aspects.
Skin abscess is commonly known as “boil,” and it has typical bumpy appearance. It can grow as a single bump or grows in a close proximity between each others, creating a bumpy disfigurement. Abscess can appear on the back, buttocks or chest, but it can also appear on neck and face. Areas with large amount of hair growth, such as the pubic area and armpits, can also become fertile ground for abscess. If you have this condition and feels that it disturbs your daily life, make sure you know how to treat it.
Skin Abscess Causes and Symptoms
There are two major causes of skin abscess: infection on hair follicles and bacteria activities. This condition is aggravated if the skin area is continuously made contact or friction to a surface that causes minor trauma, such as the skin on the inner thighs, on buttocks on waist area (which experiences pressure/friction from belt or tight pant waistlines), and groins or armpits. Bacteria responsible for skin abscess are Staphylococcus aureus, which enter the body through broken and injured skin or hair follicles. These bacteria are commonly found in the nostrils and skin, which explains why abscess often grows in spots full of hair.
The initial skin abscess symptoms resemble small, hard pimple, which later can grow into cyst with fluid inside. Later, the skin around the abscess can feel painful if you press or touch it. Because abscess can grow faster from the low immune system, there can be more serious symptoms that come with the abscess, such as:
- Redness, itchiness and inflammation on and around the affected area.
- Fever, nausea and stomachache.
- Fluid leakage from the abscess.
- Swelling around the affected spot.
If you go to the doctor, abscess is usually not treated as medical emergency. However, if the abscess is accompanied with really painful sensation, fever, appearing on the face or not disappearing after 2 weeks, this may indicate more serious condition.
Common Skin Abscess Treatments
Basically, abscess treatment is simple enough. Usually, abscess goes by itself, so if it is small, you can treat it with warm compress or salve to reduce the itchiness or pain. You may get tempted to pop the abscess to release the fluid, but it will cause worse infection and even leave visible mark if the abscess heals. If the abscess is likely to be caused by bacteria, you can go to the doctor for antibiotic. However, abscess bacteria are commonly very resistant toward antibiotic, so doctor usually will conduct individual test to patient in order to prescribe the right antibiotic. The most important thing during skin abscess treatment is keeping the bacteria from spreading by washing hands after touching the abscess, and not borrowing other people’s hygiene products.