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Ask a Skin Specialist: Recurrent Abscess

Dear Doctor

Over the past 12 months I have had 7 abscesses on different parts of my body. I have taken very many antibiotics but they still keep coming back. What can I do to stop them?

recurrent abscess

Dear Patient

To prevent recurrent abscesses I advise you to:

1. Get a blood glucose test done since diabetes is one of the common causes of recurrent abscesses. If you have diabetes ensure that your blood sugar is well controlled.

 

2. Get a nasal swab done and cultured for bacteria. 20% of people are carriers of Staphlococcus aureus and this puts them at an increased risk of developing recurrent abscesses. If the culture is positive for Staph aureus mupirocin (Bactorban) is applied to the nares.

 

3. Maintain good personal hygiene and bathe with an antibacterial cleanser with chlorhexidine like Hibiclens liquid soap. You can use this cleanser daily for one week and then twice weekly for several months to control the bacterial population.

 

4. Consider taking dilute bleach baths twice a week. These are made by pouring a quarter (60 milliliters) or half a cup (120 milliliters) of bleach in a bath tub full of warm water (40 gallons or 150 liters). The affected part should be soaked for about 10 minutes before being rinsed with water and moisturized. Never submerge your head in a bleach bath.

 

5. Keeping your home very clean and disinfect door handles and other surfaces that are touched by many people to help reduce the transmission of bacteria.

 

6. If all else fails get a 6 month antibiotic prescription from your doctor of eythromycin or minocyline.

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