An abscess can occur on virtually any part of your body. You develop this swollen, pus-filled area as a side effect of your immune response to certain infections.
Abscesses usually develop when bacteria enter your skin — through a cut or scrape, for example. As your body directs white blood cells to the area to end off the bacteria, it can form pus, creating an abscess.
The good news is that with proper treatment, you can get rid of your abscess and the pain that comes with it. In fact, we offer abscess care at our SmartClinic Urgent Care clinics in West Covina and Santa Clarita, California. Let’s look at how you might have developed the abscess in the first place.
What can cause an abscess
A lot of abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection that gets in through a break in your skin. Even a tiny little nick creates an opening in the protective barrier that your skin provides. When bacteria enter, your body goes to work fighting the infection, but it might develop an abscess as white blood cells (pus), bacteria, and dead cells accumulate.
You can also get an abscess because bacteria cause inflammation around a hair follicle. Doctors call this type of abscess a boil.
Ultimately, bad bacteria cause the abscess. Whenever you get an opening in your skin, even a small scrape, it’s important to clean the wound and keep the area clean to reduce your risk of bacterial infection. Because abscesses often develop on the underarms and pubic area, that’s doubly true if you nick yourself shaving there.
Similarly, you can also reduce your risk of exposure to abscess-causing bacteria by:
- Regularly washing your hands thoroughly
- Avoiding frequently touched items — such as gym equipment — whenever your skin is broken
- Not sharing towels
If you have a condition that compromises your immune response, take extra care to check yourself for breaks in your skin, and be sure to keep those areas clean.
Diagnosing and treating an abscess
If you think you have an abscess, we can help. At our SmartClinic Urgent Care clinics, we offer a variety of treatments for abscesses.
We customize your care based on the location and severity of your abscess. We might treat it with medication or recommend draining it, for example. If we recommend drainage, we can do so in the comfort and convenience of our clinic.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t ignore an abscess. To get the tailored care you need to alleviate any pain your abscess causes and keep yourself healthy, you can walk into a SmartClinic Urgent Care clinic whenever you need abscess care.