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Health Information For Parents
May also be called: Boil; Carbuncle; Furuncle
An abscess (AB-sess) is a collection of pus that forms as part of the body’s response to an infection.
Abscesses form after bacteria, fungi, or other germs enter the body — usually through an open wound like a cut — and cause an infection. When this happens, the immune system sends white blood cells to fight the infection. It’s these white blood cells, along with other debris, that can collect in the wound and make pus. When pus collects, sometimes it can’t drain out and the area begins to hurt.
Abscesses usually are red, swollen, and warm to the touch, and they might leak fluid. They can develop on top of or under the skin, in a tooth, or deep inside the body.
Some abscesses heal with simple treatment at home, but more serious cases can require a hospital stay. An abscess should be examined by a health care provider to determine the best treatment.
In general, skin abscesses will drain and heal with no long-term problems. Other abscesses are treated with antibiotics or a minor procedure or surgery to help drain the abscess. Good hygiene can help prevent skin and tooth abscesses.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
See: Abscess, Periapical.
A periapical abscess is a collection of infected material (pus) that forms at the tip of the root of a tooth.
A skin abscess forms when bacteria get under the skin.
Doctors order wound drainage cultures when they suspect wounds are infected.
Find out how to handle minor cuts at home – and when to get medical care for a more serious injury.
Cellulitis is a skin infection that involves areas of tissue just below the skin’s surface. It can affect any part of the body, but it’s most common on exposed areas, such as the face, arms, or lower legs.
How well a wound heals depends on where it is on the body and what caused it â as well as how well someone cares for the wound at home. Find out what to do in this article for teens.
A peritonsillar abscess is an area of pus-filled tissue at the back of the mouth, next to one of the tonsils. Find out how it happens and what to do.
Older kids and teens with tonsilitis sometimes develop this painful abscess, a pus-filled tissue at the back of the mouth.
Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and underlying tissues that can affect any area of the body. It begins in an area of broken skin, like a cut or scratch.
Paronychia is an infection of the skin around a fingernail or toenail. Most of the time, it’s not serious and can be treated at home. Learn what causes it, what to do, and how to prevent it.
Paronychia is an infection of the skin around a fingernail or toenail. Most of the time, it’s not serious. Find out what causes it, what to do, and how to prevent it.
People can get abscesses on the skin, under the skin, in a tooth, or even inside the body. Most abscesses are caused by infection, so it can help to know what to do. Find out in this article for teens.
MRSA is a type of bacteria that the usual antibiotics can’t tackle anymore. The good news is that there are some simple ways to protect yourself from being infected. Find out how.
An abscess is a sign of an infection, usually on the skin. Find out what to do if your child develops one.
MRSA is a type of bacteria that the usual antibiotics can’t tackle anymore. Simple precautions can help protect your kids from becoming infected.
Most small cuts, scrapes, or abrasions heal on their own. Here are tips for teens on how to treat cuts at home – and when to get medical help.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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