Font Size

Abscess (cont.)

Skin Abscess Follow-up

  • Carefully follow any instructions regarding wound care recommended by a health care provider.
    • A health care provider may have the patient or the caregiver remove the packing. If so, removal works best while the area is moistened with water.
    • After the packing has been removed, soak or flush the area for 10-20 minutes, three to four times daily to allow the wound to heal properly.
  • Keep all follow-up appointments as a health care provider may want one to return for a recheck of the wound. Sometimes the wound may require repacking if it continues to drain pus.
  • Report any fever or increased pain or redness to a health care provider immediately.

Is It Possible to Prevent a Skin Abscess?

  • Maintain good personal hygiene by washing the skin with soap and water regularly.
  • Take care to avoid cutting oneself when shaving the underarms or pubic area.
  • Seek medical attention for any puncture wounds:
    • Especially if the person thinks there may be some foreign material or debris inside the wound or under the skin
    • If the person has one of the listed medical conditions that may weaken the immune system
    • If the person is on steroids, chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive medications, or dialysis

What Is the Prognosis for a Skin Abscess?

  • Once treated, the skin abscess should heal. The prognosis is generally excellent, but some individuals may suffer from recurrent abscesses requiring medical attention.
  • Most people do not require antibiotics.
  • The pain should improve almost immediately after drainage and subside more each day.
  • Soak or wash the area daily until the wound heals -- about seven to 10 days.
  • Usually one can remove the packing by the second day. It rarely needs to be replaced.
  • After the first two days, drainage from the abscess should be minimal to none. Healing of sores should occur in 10-14 days.


Baddour, Larry M. "Skin abscesses, furuncles, and carbuncles." June 2015. <>.

Goldstein, Beth G., and Adam O. Goldstein. "Overview of benign lesions of the skin." June 2015. <>.

Margesson, Lynette J., and F. William Danby. "Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis of hidradenitis suppurativa (acne inversa)." June 2015. <>.

Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

Must Read Articles Related to Abscess

Anal Abscess
Anal Abscess Anal abscesses include perirectal abscess and perianal abscess. Both types of abscesses need immediate medical attention. Causes of anal abscesses include indiv...learn more >>
Dental Abscess
Dental Abscess Bacteria from a tooth cavity can cause a dental abscess, or infection of the mouth, jaw, or face. Symptoms include pain, swelling, facial redness, gum inflammat...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Abscess:

Abscess - Treatment

What treatment was effective for your abscess?

Abscess - Cause

What was the cause of your abscess?

Abscess - Home Remedies

Please describe any home remedies that you tried for a skin abscess.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Peritonsillar Abscess »

Peritonsillar abscess (PTA) is a common infection of the head and neck region.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary