What is an abscess?

  • An abscess is an area under the skin where pus collects. This is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection and can occur anywhere on the body.
  • Incision and drainage (I and D) is a procedure to drain the pus from an abscess, which aids healing.
  • Sometimes a culture is performed to determine the type of bacteria and which antibiotics will work best.

Medications

  • Pain medicine: Adults may alternate Advil/ibuprofen (400 mg with food) every three hours with Tylenol/acetaminophen (500-1000 mg) for maximum pain relief. Do not take more than 3000 mg of Tylenol daily, and do not take either Tylenol or Advil if you have been advised by another physician not to take these medications.
  • Take oral antibiotics (if any) as directed. Advise if you are allergic to any medicine. Take full course of antibiotics, even if you are improving. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects.

Wound Care

  • Bandage: Leave bandage in place for 24 hours. Then remove your bandage and cleanse the wound with soap and water 1-2 times daily. A small amount of bloody discharge on the dressing is normal. Replace Polysporin antibiotic and dressing over wound daily for 1-2 weeks, or until wound is well healed. Wash hands before and after dressing wound.
  • Elevate: If your wound is on the arm or leg, elevate when possible to reduce pain and swelling. Raise above the level of your heart as often as you can. Prop arm or leg on two pillows when at rest.

Follow-Up

  • Call for worsening symptoms: If you have increasing pain, warmth, redness, streaking, or swelling, contact the office immediately or proceed to an emergency room for evaluation. Monitor for systemic symptoms, such as fever, shaking chills, vomiting, or severe fatigue; this could indicate a serious infection that needs immediate attention.
  • Recheck: Call for follow-up appointment if wound is not noticeably improving in 3-5 days, or if symptoms recur in the future.
  • Results: If a culture was performed, results will be given by phone within 3-4 days. Contact our office if you have not been contacted in 3-4 days, or sooner if symptoms are worsening.