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Furuncle, carbuncle, or abscess

  • An Abscess is an infection of the skin or deeper tissues, usually containing pus.  The infection often starts in a hair follicle.

  • Round or swollen area of skin that is often red
  • Pain and tenderness over the site
  • Site of the Abscess may feel hard or fluid-filled
  • Pus may come from the site, especially as time passes

  • Bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus infect an area under the skin or in a hair follicle.
  • The infection can occur when a cut, wound, friction, pressure, or moisture forces the bacteria deeper into the skin or hair follicle.
  • Petroleum products such as Vaseline may plug up a hair follicle and cause an infection.

  • Usually apparent to the physician on exam
  • Cultures of pus may be sent to make sure antibiotic choice is correct
  • Nasal cultures may be sent for patients who get repeated infections to make sure they are not "carriers" for staphylococcal infections.  People who are carriers often need longer courses of antibiotics and specific antibiotics to prevent recurring Abscess formation.

  • Antibiotics commonly used are cephalexin, dicloxacillin, and cefazolin.
  • Warm soaks and moist compresses, as directed by the attending physician
  • Incision and drainage of the Abscess

  • Sebaceous Cyst
  • Sporotrichosis
  • Blastomycosis
  • Acne cysts
  • Anthrax
  • Tularemia
  • Brown Recluse Spider Bite
  • Venous stasis ulcer
  • Decubitus ulcer


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