This patient has a large abscess thigh. What I drained out…Milkshake of Pus! I knew from the ultrasound I performed on the bedside that I would get a lot out, but I never expected THIS much! 800+ mLs of infection.
Pus: A thick, whitish-yellow fluid that results from the accumulation of white blood cells, liquefied tissue, and cellular debris. Pus is commonly a sign of infection or foreign material in the body.
Pus is a collection of white blood cells that congregate at the site of an infection where bacteria replicate and multiply.
The presence of pus (either in a wound on the skin, or inside the body) means that the white blood cells are trying to ingest and kill the infection. When they don’t do it quickly enough, that draws more and more white blood cells to the area, which increases the amount of pus. It is also a sign that the battle is continuing and you are not healed yet.
The underlying reason for the pus is the main target for treatment, and the strategy will depend on the cause.
If pus builds up close to the surface of the skin, such as in pimples, medical intervention is not required. The pus may be drained at home.
Soaking a towel in warm water and holding it against the infected pus for 5 minutes will reduce the swelling and open up the pimple or skin abscess for a faster healing process.
Pus can sometimes gather in the form of an localised abscess
Patients who have undergone surgery and who notice a discharge of pus should not apply over-the-counter antibiotic cream, alcohol, or peroxide.
They should contact their doctor or surgeon.
Large abscesses or those that are difficult to access should also be treated by a clinician.
The doctor will attempt to create an opening so that the pus can ooze out, or evacuate. Medications may also be necessary.
Treatment to remove pus may be necessary in the following cases:
Recurring otitis media, or middle ear inflammation: This can lead to recurring excess fluid in the middle ear. A specialist may need to insert a grommet in the eardrum to help evacuate this fluid.
Grommets are small plastic tubes that are inserted into the ear.
As well as draining fluid, grommets also allow air into the space behind the ear drum, reducing the risk of a future buildup of fluid.
Abscesses: Antibiotics may treat smaller abscesses, but sometimes they are not effective.
The doctor may need to insert a drainage-channel to help evacuate the pus rapidly.
A surgical drain may be used to assist with removal of pus.
This is a tube-like structure that may or may not be attached to a suction pump.
Septic arthritis: If an infection develops in a joint, or passes from another part of the body to a joint, pus and general inflammation can occur in the joint.
After identifying which bacterium is causing the infection, the doctor will decide on a course of intravenously administered antibiotics. This may last many weeks.
Joint drainage may be necessary to remove pus.
A flexible tube with a video camera at its tip, called an arthroscope, is placed into the joint through a tiny incision.
This device guides the doctor to insert suction and drainage tubes around the joint to draw out the infected synovial fluid.
Arthrocentesis is a different procedure.
It involves removing the infected fluid with a needle. The extracted fluid is examined for bacteria, and the arthrocentesis repeated every day until there are no more bacteria in the fluid.