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Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a persistent, inflammatory skin disorder that causes painful skin lumps. It is most common in areas where the skin rubs together, such as the underarms, breasts, groin, and buttocks.

HS can be surprising. There are times when symptoms flare up and times when they disappear.

HS can develop infection if left untreated. Here’s what you need to know about HS infections, as well as some prevention strategies.

The connection between HS and infections

Hair follicles and sweat glands become clogged with keratin, a protein found in our skin, in HS. These follicles and glands can become swollen and irritated as a result of sweat and keratin buildup.

Skin lumps can burst and become infected as HS advances. They can also spread and grow behind the skin, forming tunnels. This can be excruciatingly uncomfortable and result in scars.

If you suspect you have an infection, make an appointment with your doctor right away. The earlier you can begin treatment, the better.

Meanwhile, adopting precautions to avoid flare-ups and limit the risk of infection can be beneficial. Here are some things you can do to help manage HS.

Stick to your HS treatment strategy.

There are various therapies available for HS. The therapy goals are to manage symptoms and limit the frequency and duration of flares. This can also assist to reduce the chance of infection.

Use a moderate antibacterial soap to cleanse your skin.

Using an antibacterialTrusted Source soap helps to reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin. This may reduce the likelihood of infected follicles and sweat glands.

Any damage to your skin allows bacteria to enter more easily, raising the risk of infection. This contains items such as:

wounds, scratches, and bug bites

nicks after shaving

To limit the risk of infection, clean any cuts or scratches as soon as possible.

Before shaving, consider applying an antibacterial wash. This decreases the number of microorganisms on the surface of your skin.

Waxing is not advised for persons who have HS. This method of hair removal can cause irritation to your skin and hair follicles.

Consider laser hair removal for a longer-term option that is safe for HS patients. Laser therapy is frequently used to manage HS and avoid flare-ups.

Avoid picking at HS skin.

Poking or picking at HS cysts or lumps may be appealing. Make every effort to avoid this.

Popping an infected bump can cause pus to be released, spreading the infection to other locations. This makes it more difficult for your skin to recover and increases the likelihood of scarring.

If you have a lot of cysts, pimples, sores, and lumps, consult your doctor about the best method to treat them.

Consult your doctor for wound-care advice.

If you have open sores or an infection, proper care can help minimize infection spread. It can also help you heal faster, as well as lessen discomfort and scarring.

The optimal method of wound care will be determined by the size and stage of the HS lesions. Create a wound care plan with your doctor that includes:

how frequently should you clean your wound

how frequently should dressings be changed

which items should be used

If you have any questions about how to properly care for wounds, contact your doctor.

Prevent overheating.

Sweating increases as you become overheated. Excessive sweating might cause additional accumulation in the follicles and sweat glands. This can aggravate HS and cause a flare in some people, increasing your risk of infection.

Sweat is particularly uncomfortable in locations where skin rubs against skin, such as the armpits or buttocks. These are some of the locations where HS is most prone to occur.

Try to keep your cool. Wear loose, breathable clothing to keep your skin dry and friction-free. Tight clothing can irritate and aggravate irritation.

Understand when to contact your doctor.

There are numerous things you may do at home to aid in the healing of HS lesions, but occasionally you need extra help. It’s wise to know when to contact your healthcare provider.

Make appointments with your doctor on a regular basis and keep them. Be on the lookout for indicators of infection that may necessitate a call in between your regularly scheduled exams. This includes situations such as:

Your HS discomfort is poorly controlled.

You develop a fever, the wound or the skin surrounding it is red and hot, and there is a lot of pus discharge.

The main point

Following your treatment plan and caring for your skin are important parts of controlling hidradenitis suppurativa. This can assist you in preventing or managing flares, as well as lowering your risk of infection.


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