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An abscess is a localized collection of pus. An abscess can occur almost anywhere in the body. When an area becomes infected, the body's immune system tries to fight the infection. White blood cells go to the infected area, collect 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, bacteria or other foreign substances.

Bacteria, viruses, parasites and swallowed objects can all lead to the formation of abscesses. Skin abscesses are easy to diagnose. Skin abscesses are typically red, raised and painful. Abscesses inside the body may not be as easy to diagnose and can affect the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, breasts, neck, teeth and tonsils. Treatments include drainage and antibiotics.

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