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

ANSWER

If you have:

  • 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 abscess on your face larger than 1 centimeter or a half-inch across

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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How is an abscess diagnosed?

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