What are the Causes and Treatment for Recurrent Abscess In Children

Abscesses whether they are cutaneous or found inside the body is never a good thing. It is a source of infection and contains highly infectious pus or fluid. When allowed to ooze out under any condition, it can cause spread of the infection to other parts of the body causing another infection.

Recurrent abscess are not new. Some children have been reported to experience abscesses that recur over and over again.

The first time a child develops an abscess, the doctor will most likely do the following:

  • Take a culture of the abscess in order to know the antibiotics the bacteria is sensitive or resistant to.
  • Start antibiotic therapy to fight off the infection.
  • Treat symptoms associated with the abscess such as fever.
  • If the abscess does not respond to therapy, the doctor may resort to incision and drainage.

Abscess that recur over time usually follow the same procedure. The doctor may also further evaluate the child as to the reasons for the recurrence.

What Causes Recurrent Abscess

When an abscess develops again despite initial treatment, the doctor will have to consider the probable causes of the recurrence.

  • Look for a reservoir. In the case of recurrent abscesses, there is often a reservoir or hiding place for bacteria between infections. The most common reservoir is the nasopharynx. Other possible reservoirs include another family member, a playmate, or a pet.
  • Immune deficiency disorders – an immunodeficient child will have a high risk of reinfection, or in this case, recurrence of abscess.
  • Presence of dermatologic diseases – some dermatologic conditions resembles an abscess when actually they are not.

Treatments Involved for Recurrent Abscess

Correct and even aggressive treatment may be needed to successfully treat a recurrent abscess.

  • Aggressive antibiotic therapy – is often the first line of treatment for children with recurrent abscess. The antibiotic chosen must be one that the bacteria are sensitive to as evident in a culture exam.
  • Surgery – the last resort chosen by most doctors. Only when an abscess is recurrent and not responsive to antibiotic therapy should this be performed. It is important to perform an incision and drainage in sterile conditions to avoid the spread of infection to other parts of the body.
  • Treatment of underlying diseases or concurrent diseases – underlying conditions such as immunotherapy and concurrent conditions such as certain skin diseases should be treated to help avoid the recurrence of abscesses in children.

2 thoughts on “What are the Causes and Treatment for Recurrent Abscess In Children

  • December 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks a lot for that topic. My child is suffering from repeated skin abscess mainly on his legs. I started antibiotic therapy but without doing culture. At first he responded well to the therapy, but then the abscess appeared again. He has already been operated for tonsillectomy 2 years ago.

    • December 15, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Children usually are prone to skin infection, especially staphylococcal infection. This is because their immunity is low. And for this reason, most often they get repeated skin boils which may ultimately turn into abscess. Improve your child’s immunity by giving him healthy food. Also, he should wash his legs and hands as soon he comes home after playing games. The pus should be sent for culture and sensitivity test in a good laboratory. It will indicate the exact antibiotics to be given to eradicate the bacteria.


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