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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is an abscess?

An abscess is an area under the skin where pus (infected fluid) collects. An abscess is often caused by bacteria, fungi or other germs that get into an open wound. You can get an abscess anywhere on your body.

Skin Abscess

What increases my risk for an abscess?

What are the signs and symptoms of an abscess?

You may have a swollen mass that is red and painful. Pus may leak out of the mass. The pus will be white or yellow and may smell bad. You may have redness and pain days before the mass appears. You may have a fever and chills if the infection spreads.

How is an abscess diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine the area. He or she will check to see if your abscess is draining. A sample of fluid from your abscess may show what is causing your infection.

How is an abscess treated?

What can I do to care for myself?

What can I do to care for my wound after it is drained?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.