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When should you go to the emergency room for an abscess?

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Go to a hospital’s emergency room if any of these conditions occur with an abscess:

  • Fever of 102°F or higher, especially if you have a chronic disease or are on steroids, chemotherapy, or dialysis
  • A red streak leading away from the sore or with tender lymph nodes (lumps) in an area anywhere between the abscess and your chest area (for example, an abscess on your leg can cause swollen lymph nodes in your groin area)
  • Any facial abscess larger than 1 centimeter or a half-inch across

From: Abscess WebMD Medical Reference

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 12, 2017

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 12, 2017

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What exams and tests are used to diagnose an abscess?

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