Symptoms and Signs of Skin Abscess

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Skin Abscess

A skin abscess is a small collection of pus within the skin. A skin abscess is sometimes referred to as a boil. A skin abscess can occur anywhere on the body. There can be many causes of skin abscesses, including an ingrown hair, splinters or foreign objected that have become lodged in the skin, or plugged sweat glands.

The first symptom of a skin abscess is a red and tender area on the skin. The area becomes hard, firm, and more painful or tender. Eventually, there is softening of the tissue at the center of the hard area with pus formation. Pus is composed of white blood cells that fight the infection. Associated symptoms can include spontaneous drainage or weeping of pus from the area.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.