• Rationale and Comments

    Skin and soft tissue infections are a frequent reason for visiting an emergency department. Some infections, called abscesses, become walled off and form pus under the skin. Opening and draining an abscess is the appropriate treatment; antibiotics offer no benefit. Even in abscesses caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, appropriately selected antibiotics offer no benefit if the abscess has been adequately drained and the patient has a well-functioning immune system. Additionally, culture of the drainage is not needed as the result will not routinely change treatment.

    Sponsoring Organizations

    • American College of Emergency Physicians


    • Randomized controlled trials


    • Emergency medicine
    • Infectious disease


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    • Duong M, Markwell S, Peter J, Barenkamp S. Randomized, controlled trial of antibiotics in the management of community-acquired skin abscesses in the pediatric patient. Ann Emerg Med. 2010 May;55(5):401-7.
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