These are bacterial infections of the skin that usually begin from a scratch or bug bite and may progress to a red nodule that fills with pus. Boils are superficial infections with a thin layer of skin over fluid. Abscesses are generally larger and deeper with redness and painful swelling over an area filled with pus. Cellulitis is an infection within the skin and the area just beneath it; the skin is red and tender to touch. The area of cellulitis can spread quickly.

Abscesses and boils tend to be softer in the middle over the fluid or pus than at the edges. They may drain when the skin over the infected area opens and lets the fluid or pus out. Signs of cellulitis include areas of redness and skin tenderness. The skin over these infections is usually warmer than the surrounding normal areas of skin because of the body’s...

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