Duration of the abscess
Usually small abscesses heal by themselves within a week. Especially in places like the lip, which are often exposed to friction and foreign bodies such as food, it can take a little longer. If there is still no improvement after one week, a doctor should be consulted so that the abscess can be surgically removed if necessary before it can spread to surrounding tissue. Larger abscesses can take several weeks to heal completely, even after surgical treatment.
Usually an abscess can be diagnosed with the naked eye. The affected area is conspicuous by redness, swelling, increased temperature and increased sensitivity to pressure and pain. If a boil is visible and/or palpable, it can also be punctured by the doctor to check the pus for the bacteria causing it. In addition, it is possible to check the blood for inflammation values, which are blood components that are present in increased quantities when an inflammatory reaction occurs in the body. However, this is often not necessary.
The treatment of an abscess on the lip
Even if it is sometimes difficult, as little pressure as possible should be applied to an abscess. Any pressure applied carries the risk that the pus, and with it the inflammation, will spread from the abscess to surrounding tissue. Special care should be taken with abscesses on the upper lip, because from here the pus can reach the brain comparatively quickly and cause a brain abscess.
For the treatment of an abscess, so-called traction ointment is available in the pharmacy. Their effect is based on the fact that they cause an intensification of the inflammatory reaction by irritating the skin. This makes the immune system work harder and the abscess matures faster.
When it is mature, i.e. when the tissue cavity is completely filled with pus, it usually opens outwards by itself and the pus flows away. Afterwards, the resulting opening should be well disinfected and all surfaces that have come into contact with pus should be thoroughly cleaned. Instead of the ointment, heat can also drive the inflammation process forward, for example in the form of compresses with warm water.
These can be supplemented as a household remedy with camomile extract for pain or with garlic with a slight antibiotic effect. If the abscess becomes larger and larger or persists for a longer period of time, or if symptoms such as fever or fatigue occur, a doctor should be consulted. This doctor can remove the abscess in a minor operation.
This involves local anaesthesia and a small incision with a scalpel, whereupon the pus usually drains off by itself. The tissue cavity is then rinsed out and disinfected. In severe cases, antibiotics are also prescribed to kill the bacteria that have already escaped from the abscess. .