Care After

An abscess (also called a boil or furuncle) is an infected area that contains a collection of pus. Signs and symptoms of an abscess include pain, tenderness, redness, or hardness, or you may feel a moveable soft area under your skin. An abscess can occur anywhere in the body. The infection may spread to surrounding tissues causing cellulitis. A cut (incision) by the surgeon was made over your abscess and the pus was drained out. Gauze may have been packed into the space to provide a drain that will allow the cavity to heal from the inside outwards. The boil may be painful for 5 to 7 days. Most people with a boil do not have high fevers. Your abscess, if seen early, may not have localized, and may not have been lanced. If not, another appointment may be required for this if it does not get better on its own or with medications.


  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • When you bathe, soak and then remove gauze or iodoform packs at least daily or as directed by your caregiver. You may then wash the wound gently with mild soapy water. Repack with gauze or do as your caregiver directs.


  • You develop increased pain, swelling, redness, drainage, or bleeding in the wound site.

  • You develop signs of generalized infection including muscle aches, chills, fever, or a general ill feeling.

  • An oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C) develops, not controlled by medication.

See your caregiver for a recheck if you develop any of the symptoms described above. If medications (antibiotics) were prescribed, take them as directed.