Lacerations and Abscesses

A laceration develops when sharp objects cut the tissues. A blunt trauma can also lead to lacerations. An open wound reveals the tender tissues beneath, resulting in bleeding or serious injuries. Lacerations are generally found in the skin but can also happen to muscles or many internal organs.

An abscess is a bump beneath the skin’s surface that seems like a pimple but is more prominent in size. A skin abscess is typically filled with pus leading to swelling of the skin around it. It is quite a painful experience.

 What is a Laceration?

In medical terms, a laceration is a cut-like wound in the skin that is caused by blunt trauma. It can be painful and bleed out, so immediate attention is needed in case of a laceration.

Causes Of A Laceration:

Lacerations can be caused due to following common reasons:

  • Operating heavy machinery that causes physical injuries
  • Accidents
  • Handling knives and blades recklessly

What To Do If Lacerations Happen?

If a laceration happens due to accidents, you can immediately clean the wound and keep it closed so that you may not bleed out and dust is not allowed in.

Seek immediate medical attention if the laceration is deep.

Diagnosis of a Laceration:

A physical examination is enough to diagnose a laceration.

How to treat a Laceration?

The physician will examine the wounds and clean & close them with bandages or through stitching (if it is a significant cut). It is advised to keep the bandages and not to let water or dust near the wound to prevent infection. A follow-up may be required depending on the severity of the cut.

Preventive measures for Lacerations:

  • Handle sharp objects with care.
  • Be careful while operating sharp machinery.
  • Always use thick gloves in your hand while cutting or sawing.

Care Tips for Lacerations:

  • Make sure you clean the wound.
  • Make sure not to dirty the bandage after a laceration
  • Tie a cloth or bandage around the cut if bleeding is happening.
  • Keep the cloth tight enough.

What is an Abscess?

An abscess, in simple terms, is a pocket full of pus. It can be inside the body or outside and can be extremely painful. A bacterial infection causes a spot.

There are mainly two types of abscesses;

  • Skin Abscess: When a pocket filled with pus is found under the skin, it is a skin abscess. It is a swollen lump that can develop in any body part.
  • Internal Abscess: An internal abscess can develop inside the body, in the organs, and in between the organs.

Symptoms of an Abscess:

A skin abscess can be identified through the painful lump in the skin. However, some other symptoms are:

  • High temperature
  • Chills
  • Red skin around the lump
  • The skin on the bow is yellowish or white
  • Pain in and around the lump

An internal abscess can be identified through pain in the affected area, feeling generally unwell, etc. it can be harder to identify as it’s inside the body. There may not be many external symptoms at all. Or when they are, they can vary depending on the part of the body it is developed in. common symptoms are:

  • High temperature
  • Swollen tummy
  • Feeling sick
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Causes of an Abscess:

  • A bacterial infection can cause skin abscesses. When there is a bacterial attack in our skin, the brain sends white blood cells to attack and fight this external foreign factor. Due to this, some tissue dies in the affected area, and a hole appears. This cavity is turned into an abscess.
  • A skin abscess is filled with dead tissues, white blood cells, and bacteria. Blockage of oil or sweat glands, under the root of the hair, or bacteria getting into a hole causes skin abscess. A skin abscess can become more extensive as time goes on if left untreated.
  • An internal abscess can be caused due to any other infections or illnesses in other parts of the body. Conditions in any organ can turn into an internal spot in the organ or the space between them.
  • Another cause is when the immune system is weak. Existing medical conditions such as HIV, diabetes, and obesity are risk factors for abscesses.

Diagnosis of an Abscess:

Skin abscesses are easier to diagnose through a physical examination. If the abscess has been there longer and is getting bigger, a pus sample is taken and sent for testing to identify the bacteria in it. So that adequate treatment can be given.

Internal abscesses are harder to diagnose since they cannot be seen. The physician inquired about existing conditions and symptoms, and tests such as a CT scan, MRI scan, or Ultrasound can be used to diagnose internal abscesses properly.

Where Does Abscess Occur?

A skin abscess can happen anywhere in the body. It is most commonly found in:

  • Underarms
  • Buttocks
  • Hands and feet
  • Genitals
  • Breast

An internal abscess can also be found in any of your organs. There are;

  • Lung abscess
  • Abdomen abscess
  • Tooth abscess 
  • Brain abscess
  • Spinal cord abscess

Treatment for Abscess

Treatment for abscesses includes draining them. Small abscesses under the skin cure themselves by shrinking and disappearing naturally. However, in the case of extensive abscesses, a doctor will drain the lump, clean the hole, pack it, and close it up. They are also treated with antibiotics.

The drainage is done by inserting a small needle into the lump or making a small incision on the top of the lump.

Preventive Measures for Abscesses

In the case of skin abscesses, following clean hygiene can almost prevent an abscess. You can

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Do not share razor blades with anyone
  • Do not share bath towels
  • If you have a skin abscess, wait for it to heal entirely before using anything that is also used by others.

In internal abscesses, prevention is difficult as already existing conditions' side effects mainly cause it.

Care Tips for Abscess

  • Do not try to drain a skin abscess by yourself. It also causes the bacteria in the pus to spread to your skin.
  • If the lump is leaking, use a tissue to clean it up. Get rid of this tissue immediately.
  • Following good hygiene can prevent abscesses.
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