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An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms under the skin and can form almost anywhere in the body. When an area becomes infected, the body's immune system tries to fight it by sending white blood cells to the infected area, collecting within the damaged tissue and cause inflammation. During this process, pus forms. Pus is the buildup of fluid, living and dead white blood cells, dead tissue and bacteria or other foreign substances.

Bacteria, viruses, parasites and swallowed objects can all lead to abscesses. Skin abscesses are easy to detect; they are red, raised and painful. The afflicted would know by constant pain or tension around the abscess. Abscesses inside the body may not be obvious and can damage organs, including the brain, lungs and others while dental abscesses can eat into the bone of the jaw.

Treatment includes drainage and antibiotics, though drainage is usually performed on abnormally large abscesses that may prevent full functionality of the being. Drainage should only be performed by a medical professional in a sterile environment, as the odor and amount of liquid drained can be overwhelming to the inexperienced.