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article imageMedical Detective: On The Hunt For A Reason Of An Abscess

By KJ Mullins     Mar 30, 2008 in Health
Recently a family member has been abscesses appear on her lower body. Had she been an older person in a nursing home this by not be very surprising but the fact is she is a healthy teenage girl.
Where did they come from? And why did it take the medical field a month to figure it out?
Abscesses can start like a pimple gone bad, a sore that simply doesn't heal and keeps getting bigger. Sometimes it's an allergic reaction but often it's a bacteria brewing inside of you. Generally it's the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that has decided to come for a visit.
Abscesses are also called boils. They are painful knots of pus that are just below the skin's surface. They can be several inches in diameter. Not only are they painful these little pus pockets can make you feel sick and run down. Fevers are not uncommon when dealing with these skin conditions.
Antibiotics are often needed to clear the infection up, dicloxacillin and cephalexin are two of those that are often used. Special liquid soaps can also be prescribed to help work on healing the sores.
There's another bacteria though that can cause these painful sores, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It's a little known condition that comes from a wonderful relaxing pastime that many of us enjoy. The hot tub.
In the hot tub Pseudomonas aeruginosa thrives unless the water acid and chlorine levels are strictly controlled. Most of the time they heal on there own but in severe cases they need to have an antibiotic to clear them up.
The condition has a name; hot tub folliculitis. It was first reported in 1975 when hot tubs and whirlpool spas became a craze. We as a family have learned about this bacteria the hard way. We also learned that it can take doctors a while to get the right diagnoses. The good news is that the sores generally clear up with no further problems. That bad news is that they are painful and generally not in an area that doesn't cause some embarrassment for the younger members of a family.
Just a side note, showering after being in a contaminated hot tub will not stop these types of abscesses.
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