A pilonidal abscess is an infection in a pilonidal cyst. It usually develops near the top of the crease between the buttocks. The infection causes a pocket of pus to form. It can be quite painful.
The doctor may have opened and drained the abscess. You can take care of your child at home to help the area heal. In some cases, the abscess returns. The doctor may suggest surgery to remove the site of the infection if it comes back.
Your child may have had a sedative to help them relax. Your child may be unsteady after having sedation. It takes time (sometimes a few hours) for the medicine's effects to wear off. Common side effects of sedation include nausea, vomiting, and feeling sleepy or cranky.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
How can you care for your child at home?
- If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
- Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
- If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
- If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
- Clean the area gently with wet cotton balls, a warm washcloth, or towelettes such as Tucks or baby wipes.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- Your child has trouble breathing. Symptoms may include:
- Using the belly muscles to breathe.
- The chest sinking in or the nostrils flaring when your child struggles to breathe.
- Your child is very sleepy and is hard to wake up.
- Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your child has new or worse nausea or vomiting.
- Your child has symptoms of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the area.
- Pus draining from the area.
- A fever.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- Your child does not get better as expected.