Abscesses are very painful collections of pus, usually. That is why people often try to solve this problem as quickly as possible, even if it means doing it yourself.
If you are thinking of opening an abscess, you must pay close attention to the following FastlyHealarticle. In it, we share all the information you need to know about what a spot is, what causes it and how to drain an abscess at home, as well as the key points to know when it is time to turn to a professional.
What are a skin abscess and its causes?
A skin abscess is an infection of the skin. It is pus that is enclosed in a specific space, and that will have the following characteristics:
- The affected area is swollen, red, and sore.
- If the abscess is touched, it must fluctuate; that is, it must move because a large amount of pus is accumulated inside.
Usually, it is caused because in that place or near it, there is a wound that allows the entry of germs that are generally on the skin and that, when they enter it, generate an infection. It may be that the presence of an ulcer, previous trauma, shaving, or a pimple is the entry point for bacteria.
Another possible cause of an abscess is its formation due to the obstruction of sebum or sweat glands. This is most common in the neck and armpits.
Can an abscess be drained at home?
An abscess can be drained at home, as long as all the necessary hygiene conditions are met, something essential to avoid worsening the infection.
On the other hand, it is also essential that the abscess to be drained is superficial. Otherwise, complications are more significant when treating areas where important vessels or nerves pass. Also, do not try to do it on delicate areas such as the face and neck, armpits, wrists, and the back of the knee. In case of suffering a dental abscess, it is recommended to go to a specialist.
If, after knowing these data, you are not sure about draining the abscess at home, we recommend consulting with a professional so that that person can carry out the task.
How to drain an abscess step by step
To drain an abscess at home, you need to have the following elements :
- Disposable latex gloves or similar.
- White soap without perfumes.
- Hydrogen peroxide.
- Small or medium scalpel.
- Small surgeon’s scissors or forceps (maybe you can do without them, but it is beneficial to drain the abscess completely).
- Two medium 5 ml syringes.
It is worth clarifying that the list of items does not include anesthesia because the area where the abscess is located will not fall asleep due to the infection. But, while draining a spot at home or in the hospital causes immediate pain, the pain is much less than having the disease after removing the pus.
Here is the procedure to drain and heal an abscess. Read all the steps below to make sure you understand everything you need to do before starting work.
- Wash your hands well with soap and water.
- Put disposable gloves on both hands.
- Wash the area where the abscess is and its surroundings (also with soap and water).
- Ensure that the abscess fluctuates, that is, where it is swollen, there is fluid inside it and not just inflammation.
- Take a gauze pad and soak it in iodine. Use it to go over the area where the abscess is. Make sure you start in the center and work your way towards the periphery, up to about 3 cm outside, where you will make the incision.
- The incision should be made in the most prominent area of the abscess (where it is more swollen); generally, there, you will see a whiter or yellowish spot.
- Take the scalpel from the back (place it carefully if you have a scalpel holder).
- Make an incision between 1 and 2 millimeters deep ( shallow enough not to damage other areas and deep so that if there is pus, it will come out).
- If you can, with one of the syringes, extract some pus. The correct thing to do would be to send it for analysis to determine what germs have caused the infection, especially if the procedure does not work and you need to change antibiotics.
- Drain the abscess completely, so the pus must be removed to heal the area. Squeeze around the spot to achieve this. This part will annoy me the most, but it is essential.
- Take the other syringe and fill it half with hydrogen peroxide and the other half with iodine, put it through the incision, and wash the abscess. In this way, you will begin to heal the spot.
- Clean the area with dry gauze and, when no more material comes out, pass another gauze with iodine over the surface again.
- Cover the area with several gauze pads and tape (or bandage if the site is enormous). Purulent material may continue to leak out of the wound.
- Perform gauze and iodine cures every day.
Care about draining an abscess
After draining the abscess at home, you should take an antibiotic, in addition to daily dressing with gauze and iodine. Depending on the area, your doctor will indicate the best one. Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid are often used, and an analgesic may also be helpful to relieve pain. Do not self-medicate, especially if you suffer from other diseases or have previously taken an antibiotic.
When to go to the hospital if you have drained an abscess at home
If you have performed the drainage yourself, you should go to the medical center immediately if you have any of the following symptoms :
- The area is more swollen than before.
- You think you have not been able to remove the abscess thoroughly.
- You have a fever, chills, alternating between hot and cold, and a headache.
- The area where you drained is red, hot, and swollen.
- There is a bad smell in the drainage area.
- You have other diseases (diabetes, low defenses, etc.).
- You are pregnant.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to How to drain an abscess at home , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.