When is it time to visit an urgent care clinic to seek treatment for an abscess?
What is an abscess?
An abscess is an infection under the skin that is caused from bacteria that have entered the skin through an inflamed hair follicle, sweat gland or tiny rupture in the skin or tissue. The inside of an abscess will begin to fill with pus and dead skin cells, which causes the outer skin to become red, swollen and very tender.
What are the most common types of abscesses?
An abscess can occur almost anywhere on the body, but there are a few places where they are most commonly seen:
- Dental abscess.
A dental abscess occurs in the tissue or gum around a tooth. This type of abscess can happen because of poor dental hygiene, trauma in the mouth or from a recent dental procedure or tooth extraction.
- Axillae abscess.
This type of abscess occurs in the underarms and may be the result of an infected gland, infected hair follicle or a small wound in the skin that has become infected.
- Pilonidal abscess.
A pilonidal abscess occurs in the region of the lower spine near the tailbone area. Abscesses of this type are usually due to infection of a hair follicle.
- Bartholin’s abscess.
The Bartholin glands are located on either side of a woman’s vagina. An abscess can form when these glands become blocked and infected.
Ways of identifiying an abscess?
The most common sign of an abscess is a swollen red mass. An abscess is usually very painful to the touch and often feels warm. They can grow to be quite large in size and may have a white or off-white point at the top as the infection begins to get worse. If not treated properly, the infection may spread, leaving a read streak leading from the abscess. This may cause a fever and a general feeling of sickness and may lead to a more serious infection of the bloodstream.
When should I visit the doctor?
It’s important to visit your urgent care clinic if your abscess is large in size, extremely painful, near the groin area or if it’s continually getting worse. Many abscesses will not go away on their own and require medical treatment. Doctors usually recommend an antibiotic, however, that isn’t usually enough to completely clear up the problem. Most abscesses require making a small incision to relieve the pressure underneath the skin and to drain out the fluid contained within.
If you notice a red line leading from an abscess or if you have a fever greater than 101F, it’s necessary to see a doctor as soon as possible as this is usually a clear indication that the infection is beginning to spread.
At Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center, our team of doctors and nurses are trained to help you deal with any urgent care or medical issues that you or your loved ones may encounter. Whether you live in Louisiana or Arkansas, we have multiple conveniently located walk-in clinics to care for you.
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