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Infected Sebaceous Cyst, Antibiotic Treatment

A sebaceous cyst occurs when the opening of an oil gland in the skin becomes blocked. The gland swells with skin oil and dead skin cells. As it gets bigger, it appears as a small painless lump under the skin. Sometimes the cyst can become infected. When the infection is limited, it can be treated with antibiotics alone. If the infection does not clear up with antibiotic treatment, the cyst will need to be drained by making a small incision using local anesthesia.

Home care

The following guidelines will help you care for your wound at home:

  • Take all of the antibiotic as directed until they are it is gone.

  • Soak the involved area in hot water or apply hot packs (small towel soaked in hot water) for 20 minutes at a time three to four times a day.

  • Apply antibiotic cream or ointment three times a day.

  • You may use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.

Preventing future infection

Once this infection has healed, observe the following to reduce the risk of future infections:

  • Keep the area of the cyst clean by bathing or showering daily.

  • Avoid tight fitting clothing in the area of the cyst.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your doctor as advised by our staff. If a gauze packing was inserted in your wound, it should be removed in 1–2 days. Check your wound every day for the signs listed below.

When to seek medical advice

Call your health care provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Pus coming from the cyst

  • Increasing redness around the wound

  • Increasing local pain or swelling

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider


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