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How is an abscess treated?

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The doctor may open and drain the abscess.

Then:

  • Once the sore has drained, the doctor may insert some packing into the remaining cavity to allow the infection to continue to drain. It may be kept 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 right 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. You are usually sent home with oral antibiotics.

Authors and Editors

Author: William T Durkin Jr, MD, FAAEM, Consulting Staff, Emergency Care Dynamics.
Editors: Steven C Gabaeff, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine, Sutter Amador Hospital, Jackson, CA; Expert Consultant, Medical Board of California, Sacramento, CA; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Anthony Anker, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Department, Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.
 

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on October 14, 2019

Authors and Editors

Author: William T Durkin Jr, MD, FAAEM, Consulting Staff, Emergency Care Dynamics.
Editors: Steven C Gabaeff, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine, Sutter Amador Hospital, Jackson, CA; Expert Consultant, Medical Board of California, Sacramento, CA; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Anthony Anker, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Department, Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.
 

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on October 14, 2019

From: Abscess

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