Although frequently reported, spider and insect bites are not usually the cause of an abscess. What most people think might be a spider/bug bite is actually a skin condition known as an abscess or “boil.” Abscesses are collections of pus under the skin that are caused by bacteria. The bacteria that cause these infections, otherwise known as Staph, Strep, and MRSA, are normally found on the surface of your skin. Occasionally, cuts, abrasions, acne or “pimples”, and insect bites can allow these normal bacteria to get into, or under, the skin and cause a skin infection known as cellulitis, or worse, an abscess. Treatment of a simple skin infection such as cellulitis usually requires a course of antibiotics taken by mouth for 5-7 days.
More complicated skin infections, such as abscesses, require a procedure known as I & D or “Incision and Drainage.” I & D typically requires numbing the skin around the abscess with a medication called lidocaine, then opening of the abscess with a small scalpel, or needle, so that the pus can be drained from under the skin. A short course of antibiotics and pain medication may be prescribed to treat this type of infection. Our staff at Complete Health Urgent Care can evaluate your skin to determine the exact cause of the problem, and develop a treatment plan that may include these procedures listed above, or referral to a skin specialist.