Skin Infections (Abscesses and Cellulitis)
What are cellulitis and abscesses?
Cellulitis is an infection of the skin while an abscess is a collection of pus directly under your skin.
An abscess can quickly expand to cause a muscle, bone, or bloodstream infection.
Signs and Symptoms
- Redness and warmth of your skin
- Warm red lump under the skin
- Pus coming from the skin
- Skin that is painful to touch
Cellulitis requires antibiotics for treatment, if you are unable to seek medical care immediately then please keep the skin area clean with soap and water.
Without treatment, cellulitis can progress to serious and life-threatening illness.
Abscesses Treatment Tips
Abscesses may require drainage to release the pus, this should be done by a health care professional to ensure that the process is as clean (sterile) as possible to decrease the risk of worsening the infection.
If that is not an option, you can use a warm compress (warm washcloth) over the area for a few minutes multiple times a day to help the abscess to open up and drain.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after touching your abscess
- If it starts to drain pus, be sure to keep it clean by washing the area with soap and water
- Keep the area covered with a clean dressing (e.g. band-aid, gauze pad) while it drains
- Some infections may also require antibiotics
- Avid injecting into areas where you have a skin infection