Abscess — inflammatory process. Treatment, and prevention

The course of the disease
Disease classification
Causes of abscess
Symptoms of skin inflammation
Therapeutic activities
Signs of illness in children
Prevention and prognosis

The course of the disease

Ulcers can appear on any part of the skin, including the hair. An abscess is characterized by the presence of a cavity in which pus accumulates. The walls of the capsule prevent the spread of infection throughout the body. However, cases of penetration of pathogens of inflammation into the blood are not excluded. As a result, the disease becomes more severe. Lymphadenitis, lymphangitis, metastatic lesions can occur. The most dangerous are the parts of the body with many vessels. For example, an abscess on the nasolabial triangle can give a complication to the maxillary or frontal sinuses. Many cases of infection and the development of inflammation in the brain, a disease of meningitis, have been recorded.

Most often there are furuncles on the neck, legs, armpits, in the anus, on the buttocks, on the large genital lips of women.

If the skin on the neck or face is affected, even with the mild form it is impossible to perform self-treatment.

Boil in maturity:

Boil in maturation
Boil in maturation

The process of suppuration provokes the ingress of bacteria that can disrupt the integrity of the skin. The formation of an abscess is associated with edema, hyperemia. In places of the follicles, an elevation in the form of a hemisphere or a pointed tubercle is formed. The increase in the affected area occurs due to the influx of fluid from the tissues and lymph, aimed at eliminating an infection. The immune system is connected to the process of destroying bacteria, which is accompanied by an increase in body temperature. Suppuration forms in the capsule, a mixture of decay products of leukocytes, proteins, immune cells, and destroyed pathogens.

An abscess develops, increases in volume, the pressure inside reaches a critical point, the tissue is torn, and the pus comes out. This stage is dangerous for the penetration of bacteria into the blood. With a mild course of the disease, the affected area heals, drags on and leaves no trace. When the focus of infection spreads to the deeper layers of the skin, a scar may remain.

Disease classification

According to ICD 10, an abscess of the skin is classified by codes:

  • LO2 — abscess, furuncle, and carbuncle.
  • 0 — on the face.
  • 1 — on the neck.
  • 2 — on the body.

Forms of disease development is divided into:

  1. Acute, which lasts no more than 2 months.
  2. Chronic — over 2 months.

According to the severity of suppuration, an abscess can be divided into:

  • Surface.
  • Deep.

By the nature of the disease:

  1. Cold abscess — painless maturation, spontaneous autopsy, passes without a trace.
  2. Hot — relate to the acute form, inflammation is severe, fraught with complications that are life-threatening.

In accordance with the name of the pathogen:

  • Streptoderma.
  • Staphyloderma.
  • Mixed form.

Causes of abscess

The main causes of furuncles are:

  • Injuries that destroy the skin.
  • Physical impact by friction.
  • Non-compliance with personal hygiene.

The most frequent cases of bacteria under the skin are observed when shaving the chin, underarms, the area around the genitals.

If there are cysts or hematomas in the body, they can provoke an inflammatory process. Intramuscular and subcutaneous injections made without compliance with the rules of antiseptics can also cause disease.

Infection can get under the skin along with a splinter.

There are a number of reasons related to the characteristics of the human body:

  1. Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
  2. Hormonal dysfunction, leading to increased activation of the sebaceous glands.
  3. Ingrown hair.

Insufficient activity of the immune system generates factors that contribute to the formation of ulcers. People with extremely weak protective function of the body are at the greatest risk. Their immunity is extremely low, it happens for such reasons:

  • Acceptance of steroid hormones (prednisone, dexamethasone) for a long period.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Consequences of chemotherapy.
  • Hemodialysis.
  • The presence of HIV infection.
  • Irrational diet.
  • Severe hypothermia.
  • Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Staphylococcus aureus is the most common causative agent of the disease, due to its rapid activity and ability to instantly enter the blood. The infection can be on the surface of the skin, in an air atmosphere, in the secret of the sebaceous and sweat glands, various other secretions.

Skin suppurations can provoke such pathogens:

  • Proteus genius.
  • Intestinal bacillus.
  • Streptococcus.

Symptoms of skin inflammation

At each stage of the disease development, various symptoms are observed.

Redness first appears, then it thickens, the affected area grows in size up to 3 cm (1.18 inch) in diameter, and soreness appears. Hair can be seen in the center.

After 3 days, the tubercle becomes softer, its edge becomes white or yellow. The red rim remains around. When touched, you can feel the increased temperature. The body is experiencing changes in the form of intense heat (up to 40 degrees), the patient refuses to eat, physically weakens.

In a standard situation, an abscess spontaneously opens, the pus comes out, and the person immediately comes to his senses, the body temperature stabilizes, the tenderness of the affected area passes.

If the patient is not relieved after opening, this is a signal that the pathogens have entered the bloodstream. This fact indicates serious complications:

An abscess at the peak
An abscess at the peak of the inflammatory process
  • Phlegmon — pus infection.
  • Sepsis — infection of the blood by pathogenic microflora and purulent masses.


Initially, a surgeon, dermatologist or general practitioner are conducting the examination. After this, it is possible to determine the presence of an abscess. However, this is not enough when the patient is feeling bad. It is necessary to test the contents of the abscess. Puncture is done only by a med worker in order to prevent the spread of infection into the deeper layers of tissue.

As a result of a patient survey, the doctor determines the cause of the suppuration.

Next, the patient is prescribed for blood tests, urine. If necessary, x-ray and ultrasound diagnostics are performed to check the condition of the internal organs.

After analyzing the information received, the doctor establishes the final diagnosis.

Therapeutic activities

Depending on the severity of the inflammatory process, appropriate therapy is carried out. In milder forms, the treatment can be carried out independently, but with the medical recommendations obtained during the examination.

The use of Dimexidum is allowed after a sensitivity test. If there is no negative reaction (redness) on the drug, you can proceed to the action:

– Dilute the solution with boiled water (1:3).

– Moisten sterile gauze in the resulting liquid.

– Attach to the sore spot.

– Cover with plastic wrap.

– Apply a layer of dry gauze.

– Fix the compress with a plaster.

A more severe form of the disease requires surgery. For this there are indications:

  • The diabetic sufferer has an abscess.
  • Suppuration is localized on the nasolabial triangle.
  • The boil continues to increase in volume and does not pass, after three days.
  • Too high body temperature (over 40 degrees).
  • Maturation is delayed, and the abscess is not opened.
  • The emergence of several suppurative inflammations.
  • The appearance of an abscess on the buttocks, around the anus, in the spine.

The surgeon performs an opening with a scalpel with local anesthesia. After removal of pus, the wound is treated with antiseptic agents. The incision is not sewed to prevent re-accumulation of pus. A sterile swab, drainage tube or a piece of a medical glove (depending on the size of the wound) is inserted into the incision. After surgery, the patient is prescribed antibacterial drugs.

The photo shows an autopsy on the abscess surgically:

Surgery on an abscess
Surgery on an abscess

Signs of illness in children

Purulent inflammation of the skin can occur in newborns in the first years of life and in older children. The main reason is weak immunity, especially often this happens after suffering a serious advanced disease.

In infants, boils are recognized by external signs, such as tissue hyperemia and edema. It is much more difficult to notice a deep abscess because the newborn is not able to point to a painful place. He gives the only signal — loud crying and restless behavior.

At the age of 2 years, the child may complain of a headache and a high fever.

To accurately determine the cause of the child’s discomfort, a clinical examination is performed. A blood and urine test, an ultrasound scan, an MRI scan can be used. A sample of the abscess’ contents is taken for microscopic examination in order to select the right antibacterial drugs.

It is very important to conduct the necessary therapy in time to prevent sepsis, a critical condition that carries mortal danger.

Prevention and prognosis

Primary measures of disease prevention include general recommendations:

  • Compliance with the requirements of general and personal hygiene.
  • Following the rules of asepsis during injections, cosmetic or medical procedures.
  • Strengthening immunity.
  • Healthy nutrition.

Secondary measures:

  • Periodic clinical examination of people with frequent purulent skin diseases.
  • Implementation of anti-relapse therapy, debridement of the affected areas.

As for forecasts, they are mostly favorable. The exception is patients with diabetes mellitus or people with a weakened immune system.

An abscess itself is not as dangerous as the negative effects after secondary infection. Complications can threaten not only health but also life.

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