Abscesses are undoubtedly one of the most painful, frightening-to-look-at, of infections. They often resemble boils, and in fact, do bear some similar characteristics, what with being inflamed and full of pus. Frequently you’ll find abscesses in the teeth (at the roots) and gums, where bacteria have made a cozy home in deep tissue pockets. These infections also are often the result of a puncture wound, animal bite or wounds resulting from accidents where dirt entered the broken skin opening. They act somewhat like a well that bacteria fall into and can’t be reached by normal cleansing, so they stay there and multiply. This infection can spread rapidly throughout the blood and strike other parts of the body, including vital organs. At any rate, an abscess is disturbing to the entire body and can make its victim quite sick.
To simply drain an abscess (even after lancing it with a sterilized needle) isn’t enough. That infected matter needs to be treated sufficiently to make sure it won’t return, or spread elsewhere, including to others who may come into contact with the pus minus adequate precautions. Needless to say, wearing disposable gloves, and keeping the wound sterilized, are mandatory. Alarmingly, body fluids from the abscess (blood and pus, mainly) can sometimes spray when pressure is applied to the surface. Be extremely careful if you are handling someone else’s abscess, as it may contaminate you as well as other body parts of the patient. Wearing a face shield in addition to a disposable paper mask is a good idea.
Since roughly a third of all people are allergic to penicillin, the usually-prescribed drug for abscesses, there must be another remedy available. To use alternative methods, herbs such as tea tree oil and calendula are useful topically, especially as compresses. Garlic, both taken orally and in the form of oil swabbed gently on the site, is an excellent bactericide. For pain, an ice cube briefly placed on the sore area will be of help. Cleansing with a mild (diluted) hydrogen peroxide 3% solution is an effective means of eliminating the chance of spreading the germs inside the abscess when they are drawn to the surface.
Those experiencing abscesses, of course, need to determine the cause, which is frequently resulting from a weakened immune system. Zinc and Vitamin C added to the diet, as well as maintaining a healthy balance of nutrients, is the key. Rest and proper hydration also are important factors in fighting off this type of infection as well as any other, generally.
Through hand-washing, before and after dealing with the abscess, is vital to prevention of further contamination. Strict attention to the routine of cleaning and disinfecting the abscess and surrounding area are the way to manage it. If you are treating someone else who has this condition, you may not even notice a small scratch or cut on your own hands or elsewhere. Complete attention to keeping your hands (especially while still gloved) away from your face or other unprotected areas is vital. Thorough disinfection of your hands as soon as your gloves come off is of the utmost importance.
Abscesses need not be life-threatening but with the growing problem of MRSA and other “superbugs” there is an imperative to avoid taking risks. Both the patient and the healer must be extra-cautious to lower the chance of developing further infections.