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    Abscess

    Medical Treatment

    The doctor may open and drain the abscess.

    • The area around the abscess will be numbed with medication.
      • It is often difficult to completely numb the area, but local anesthesia can make the procedure almost painless.
      • You may be given some type of sedative if the abscess is large.
    • The area will be covered with an antiseptic solution and sterile towels placed around it.
    • The doctor will cut open the abscess and totally drain it of pus and debris.
    • Once the sore has drained, the doctor will insert some packing into the remaining cavity to minimize any bleeding and keep it open for a day or two.
      • A bandage will then be placed over the packing, and you will be given instructions about home care.
      • Most people feel better immediately after the abscess is drained.
      • If you are still experiencing pain, the doctor may prescribe pain pills for home use over the next 1-2 days.

    Next Steps: Follow-up

    Follow carefully any instructions your doctor gives you.

    • The doctor may have you remove the packing yourself with instructions on the best way to do this. This may include soaking or flushing.
    • Be sure to keep all follow-up appointments.
    • Report any fever, redness, swelling, or increased pain to your doctor immediately.

    Prevention

    Maintain good personal hygiene by washing your skin with soap and water regularly.

    • Take care to avoid nicking yourself when shaving your underarms or pubic area.
    • Seek immediate medical attention for any puncture wounds, especially if:
      • You think there may be some debris in the wound
      • You have one of the listed medical conditions
      • You are on steroids or chemotherapy

    Outlook

    Once treated, the abscess should heal.

    • Many people do not require antibiotics.
    • The pain often improves immediately and subsides more each day.
    • Wound care instructions from your doctor may include wound repacking, soaking, washing, or bandaging for about 7 to 10 days. This usually depends on the size and severity of the abscess.
    • After the first 2 days, drainage from the abscess should be minimal to none. All sores should heal in 10-14 days.

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