How Do You Drain an Abscess?


Quick Answer

If the abscess is less than 1/2-inch across, drain it by applying a warm compress to the area for 30 minutes up to four times a day, according to WebMD. The abscess drains naturally with this treatment. You should never push on an abscess or use a needle on it.

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Full Answer

Individuals can treat small abscesses at home, but in some cases a doctor's care is necessary, explains WebMD. You should see a doctor for an abscess if sores are larger than 1/2-inch across, painful, near the groin or rectum, or if you a fever and abscess at the same time. It is also important to see a doctor if the abscess has red streaks near it.

Though most abscesses are not dangerous, emergency medical treatment is sometimes necessary, states WebMD. For example, a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit accompanying an abscess could signal an infection. If the abscess is on the face and is larger than 1/2-inch across, emergency medical treatment is necessary.

A doctor will typically ask when the abscess first made an appearance, WebMD advises, and may also ask about any injuries to the area, what medications the patient takes and if the individual has a fever. The doctor usually looks at the abscess and the surrounding area before making a diagnosis.

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