Causes of Abscess
Abscess formation is caused by the body's reaction to bacteria. Bacteria can enter the body through cuts, scrapes, insect bites or other open wounds. When the bacteria enters the body, the body's defense mechanism kicks in and tries to limit the spread of the bacteria. These pus-filled swellings, called abscesses, appear.
Certain abscesses develop more often in people with weakened immune systems. Those who have any of the following are at risk of having more severe abscesses. This is because the body's ability to prevent infections is reduced.
Diagnosis of Abscess
Abscesses can usually be diagnosed by a physical exam and a medical history. Your doctor may also order blood tests to check for signs of infection, or imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasounds to locate the abscess. In some cases, your doctor may need to perform a biopsy or culture of the pus to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection.
Treatment of Abscess
The treatment of an abscess will depend on the location and severity of the infection. In many cases, antibiotics can be used to kill the bacteria and reduce the size of the abscess. Your doctor may also need to drain the abscess to remove the pus and relieve pressure on the surrounding tissues. Depending on the location of the abscess, this may be done using a needle and syringe, or through a small incision in the skin.
In some cases, an abscess may require surgery to remove the infected tissue or organ. If the abscess is located in a vital organ such as the brain or heart, it must be scraped from the body.
Is an Abscess Contagious?
An abscess is not generally considered contagious, as it is a localized collection of pus that forms in response to an infection within the body. For an abscess to be contagious, the infection causing the abscess must be an infectious organism, such as a bacteria or virus.
In some cases, an abscess may develop as a result of an infection that is spread through close contact with someone who has the infection.
If you have an abscess, it is important to practice good hygiene and take steps to prevent the spread of the underlying infection. This may include washing your hands regularly, covering the abscess with a bandage or dressing, and avoiding close contact with others until the infection has been treated and the abscess has healed.