Abscesses sometimes heal on their own if the immune system can take care of the local infection. But there are times when medical attention is required. You shouldn’t delay emergency treatment if the symptoms are progressing. An infection can lead to serious complications and systemic infection, which is why it is important to seek medical services as soon as possible.
Abscess Symptoms: What You Need to Know
Abscesses can form on the surface of the skin or deeper within the body. This sore is a walled-off area where the body is working to contain the infection and prevent the spread to surrounding tissue. As the immune system fights the infection, you will experience a variety of symptoms:
- Raised or rounded skin
- Swelling and local irritation
- Minor or moderate pain
- Tender to the touch
- Warm to the touch
- Drainage or visible pus
- Skin turns pink or red
- Development of a fever
Even if you are only experiencing a few of the above symptoms, it is important to talk to a doctor about the severity of the infection. A personalized treatment plan can be designed to eliminate the infection and help the area heal.
At-Home Care for Abscesses
At-home treatments can be done by placing a warm, moist cloth on the infected area. Hold the cloth in place for 20 minutes and repeat several times a day. This treatment can provide relief from the pain, and also helps to stimulate the immune activity so the body can heal.
Never try draining the abscess at home. Opening the wound increases the risk of serious infection. Additionally, the infected fluid can spread to other surrounding areas.
If you notice that the symptoms are intensifying in any way, then it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible. It is also recommended that you should talk to a doctor if you have a weakened immune system, diabetes, or poor circulation.
Abscess Draining and Other Medical Services
A doctor can examine the abscess to determine the severity of the infection. Sometimes, drainage is required to release the infected fluid and help the body heal. Two procedures can be used for abscess drainage:
- Needle: A fine needle aspiration is a technique that involves inserting a small needle into the abscess. Then, the fluids are drained out through this needle. Local anesthetic may be applied, so you don’t experience any pain during the procedure.
- Incision: A scalpel or needle is used to make a small incision into the abscess. This opening allows the pus to be drained. The discharge can be used for testing to determine the cause of the infection. Local anesthetic may be used to ensure your comfort during the drainage.
With both of these treatments, the abscess is drained as much as possible. Then the wound is rinsed with a saline solution to clean out any remnants of pus or infection. Depending on the depth and size of the infection, the doctor will place a sterile gauze covering over the wound. Or, in severe cases, a drain might need to be placed to allow continued draining during the healing process.
When the infection affects a large area, you will be asked to come back for a follow-up appointment to track the healing and progress. Sometimes, antibiotics are prescribed, depending on the type of infection.
ER or Urgent Care for Abscess Requiring Drainage?
If you have an abscess that needs to be seen by a medical professional, should you visit an urgent care or ER? One of the benefits of choosing our team at iCare ER and Urgent Care is that we offer a full-service clinic that includes trauma support as well as standard medical care. We’ll assess your condition to determine if emergency services are required. If not, then you will visit a doctor in the urgent care. You never need to pay ER prices if emergency room services aren’t required.
If you live in Frisco, Fort Worth, or the surrounding areas, then visit one of our convenient medical centers. iCare ER and Urgent Care offers a team of board-certified doctors and experienced nurses, with emergency services available 24/7. We are ready to treat everything from small infections to major trauma. Come to our emergency room if you need immediate medical care: (214) 407-8668.