Often the result of a puncture wound (unsterilized needles, animal bites, etc.). Effectively sealed inside the skin, bacteria multiply, producing toxins which cause heat, swelling, and pain; to prevent toxins entering the bloodstream, surrounding tissues wall off the infected area, which becomes filled with pus (a mixture of defending white blood cells, dead bacteria, and blood serum).
Eventually abscess bursts, and pus drains out, or surrounding tissues gradually digest and dispose of abscess contents; occasionally, however, an abscess becomes chronic - infection continues to smoulder because the body is unable to deal with it. Given early enough, homeopathic remedies or antibiotics can prevent abscess formation; later, surgical incision may be necessary to drain pus.
Specific remedies to be given every hour for up to 10 doses
- A slow-forming abscess located fairly deep, with swelling of surrounding lymph glands, or a chronic abscess which neither goes away nor comes to a head, or to aid healing after abscess has been incised and cleaned Silicea 30c
- A suppurating abscess which is tender to the slightest touch and causes sharp, stabbing pain, chilliness, irritability Hepar sulph. 30c
- Abscess in early stage, especially if perspiration is smelly and person cannot tolerate heat or cold Mercurius 30c
- Abscess in early stage, angry red, throbbing, tender, and very sensitive to cold air Belladonna 30c
Self-help: Hot compresses may help to bring abscess to head and then encourage discharge of pus. Once abscess is open, bathe with Hypericum and Calendula solution (5 drops of each in 0.25 litre (1/2 pint boiled cooled water).