An abscess is a collection of pus, bacteria, and debris. The size of an abscess may vary depending on the site of its formation.
If it is a skin abscess it may appear as a painful red hardened swelling just underneath the skin, warm to the touch.
An abscess is caused by infections. An abscess can arise on any part of the body. The most common sites are the following:
The skin is the primary barrier to the body. If this barrier bears trauma, tear, or inflammation, it allows the entry of bacteria.
The body reacts to this entry of bacteria to kill them, as an inflammatory response mounted by the WBCs (leads to pus formation).
A block in the sweat or oil (sebaceous) gland, a pre-existing cyst, or a hair follicle may also initiate an abscess formation.
An abscess is the result of a weakened immune system as the body is compromised to tackle infections. Conditions that weaken the immune system include:
A red painful compressible mass that is warm and tender to touch. The abscess without proper care enlarges or becomes more painful.
Fever (especially in cases where the patient has been diagnosed with chronic disease or has been prescribed steroids, is on chemotherapy, or is undergoing dialysis).
Red streaks, indicative of the infection spreading. It can be accompanied by a tender lymph node in the related area.
People with unhygienic habits, weak immune systems, and other underlying serious conditions (e.g. appendicitis can develop into an abscess if the appendix ruptures) are more likely to develop an abscess.
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