Draining pus from an abscess should be done by a health care provider in a sterile environment. If done improperly at home, the infection could worsen or spread to other parts of the body. When draining pus from an abscess, the health care provider generally uses a disposable needle to aspirate or draw out the pus, filling the barrel of the needle. Prior to the procedure, the abscessed area is cleansed to eliminate bacteria, and after the procedure, the area is generally covered with an antibiotic ointment and covered with a sterile dressing. Sometimes, an oral antibiotic is given to make sure the infection clears.
A pus-filled abscess is caused by a bacterial infection, and if not treated, can cause a severe blood infection. Symptoms of an abscess can include pain, inflammation, and redness. The pus can be white, green, or yellow, but red or pink pus might also be noticed. This happens when blood gets mixed with the pus, however, it is not an indicator of how serious the infection is. Rarely, red streaks appear in the area of the abscess, which can indicate blood poisoning. This symptom is considered a medical emergency, because if not treated, kidney failure or cardiovascular problems can occur.
Sometimes, the pus starts to drain on its own. When this occurs, the area needs to be washed with warm water and mild soap. After the area has been cleansed, antibiotic ointment should be applied, followed by the application of a sterile bandage. Small abscesses usually heal without complications, but they are sometimes very resistant to healing.
A small boil can quickly turn in to a large, pus-filled abscess if not kept clean and free from bacteria. This is especially troublesome when it occurs on the face, however, treatments are available. The health care provider can recommended oral antibiotics or prescription acne medication to help reduce symptoms. An abscess on the face should never be drained because doing so might lead to scarring.
Pus from an abscess around a tooth usually drains slowly into the mouth, and can cause throbbing pain and even a sore throat, as the infection spreads. The dentist will evaluate the abscess to determine how the infection should be treated and if the tooth will need to come out. Commonly, oral antibiotics are prescribed for a tooth abscess to prevent the infection from reaching the sinuses or tonsils.