Information for Patients
An abscess is a pocket of pus. You can get an abscess almost anywhere in your body. When an area of your body becomes infected, your 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 a mixture of living and dead white blood cells, germs, and dead tissue.
Bacteria, viruses, parasites and swallowed objects can all lead to abscesses. Skin abscesses are easy to detect. They are red, raised and painful. Abscesses inside your body may not be obvious and can damage organs, including the brain, lungs and others. Treatments include drainage and antibiotics.
Parasites are living things that use other living things - like your body - for food and a place to live. You can get them from contaminated food or water, a bug bite, or sexual contact. Some parasitic diseases are easily treated and some are not.
Parasites range in size from tiny, one-celled organisms called protozoa to worms that can be seen with the naked eye. Some parasitic diseases occur in the United States. Contaminated water supplies can lead to Giardia infections. Cats can transmit toxoplasmosis, which is dangerous for pregnant women. Others, like malaria, are common in other parts of the world.
If you are traveling, it's important to drink only water you know is safe. Prevention is especially important. There are no vaccines for parasitic diseases. Some medicines are available to treat parasitic infections.
Your pleura is a large, thin sheet of tissue that wraps around the outside of your lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity. Between the layers of the pleura is a very thin space. Normally it's filled with a small amount of fluid. The fluid helps the two layers of the pleura glide smoothly past each other as your lungs breathe air in and out.
Disorders of the pleura include
- Pleurisy - inflammation of the pleura that causes sharp pain with breathing
- Pleural effusion - excess fluid in the pleural space
- Pneumothorax - buildup of air or gas in the pleural space
- Hemothorax - buildup of blood in the pleural space
Many different conditions can cause pleural problems. Viral infection is the most common cause of pleurisy. The most common cause of pleural effusion is congestive heart failure. Lung diseases, like COPD, tuberculosis, and acute lung injury, cause pneumothorax. Injury to the chest is the most common cause of hemothorax. Treatment focuses on removing fluid, air, or blood from the pleural space, relieving symptoms, and treating the underlying condition.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute