Pus (Latin “pus”) is primarily the collection of dead granulocytes, a type of cell made up of white blood cells (leukocytes), and tissue fluid.
In short, pus is nothing more than a mixture of cells from your own body, bacteria and proteins.
Pus is something natural that the body makes in response to an immune response or infection.

Types of pus and symptoms

Localization of the pus is also important for the formation of the term.
First of all, pus can develop all over the body.

  • Abscess: encapsulated, self-contained pus focus.
  • Empyema: pus in body cavities.
  • Boils: inflammation of the hair root.
  • Phlegmon: pus in connective tissue, as is often the case with crevices.
  • Panaritium: purulent inflammation in the fingers.

Pus can be very different in its nature or consistency from very thin to viscous:

  • Yellow pus is found in staph infection.
  • Blue-green pus appears when infected with pseudomonads.
  • Pink pus from admixture of blood.

The color therefore already provides information about which type of pathogen an infection could be.
The smell of the pus is also an important criterion in diagnostics. But pus does not always have to speak for something pathological. During puberty, for example, pimples often develop on the skin. This is a normal reaction to hormonal changes in the body, especially in young men. Since pus can spread rapidly in a relatively short time, the affected area may be compressed and pain may result.

Otherwise it is also important to pay attention to the usual signs of inflammation. In addition to pain, there is also redness and swelling. A rise in temperature, leading to a fever, is also quite possible in the case of a larger, purulent infection.

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Removal of pus

In general it can be said that surgical interventions the most effective measure pose to Eliminate foci of pus or to relieve. Depending on the location of the pus focus, an attempt is made to open it and flush it or the Drain pus fluid allow. Opening up as well as expressing “pus pimples” at home is associated with the risk of becoming one with this infectious focus when the veins are connected Cerebral vein thrombosis comes. The gift of Antibiotics is often avoided as the antibiotic do not penetrate to the pus focus can.

Should one express pus?

In the case of abscesses or boils that can be seen superficially, those affected usually begin to fight the accumulations of pus themselves by trying to express or prick them. However, this entails all sorts of risks. On the one hand, the open area is extremely susceptible to further pathogens and germs, and further inflammation can occur, especially if there is a lack of hygiene. On the other hand, the pressure when pressing on the pathogens can get into deeper tissue or, in the worst case, into the bloodstream and lead to blood poisoning.

For example, if you express an abscess on your face, this can lead to meningitis (meningitis) to lead. The blood outflow from the face and brain are connected by small veins. The pus can therefore penetrate into the meninges and trigger inflammation there. The bacteria can also reach all organs of the body via the bloodstream and in the worst case lead to multiple organ failure as part of sepsis. Therefore, larger collections of pus should definitely be examined by a doctor and not treated on your own.

When does pus develop?

Pus is a natural breakdown product of the body as a result of an inflammatory reaction. If a bacterial infection develops through an attack by a pathogen, the body attracts masses of white blood cells (Leukocytes) to the source of inflammation to kill the bacteria. The entirety of dead cells, dead bacteria and leukocytes is called pus. The color, consistency and smell of the pus depends on the type of bacteria.

In medicine, a distinction is made between different types of accumulations of pus. If the yellowish liquid is surrounded by a capsule, which the body forms to protect against spreading the inflammation, it is called an abscess. If it collects in a natural body cavity, it is called an empyema. If a hair follicle becomes inflamed and pus develops, this is called a boil. Young people are particularly susceptible to such boils, as the hormonal changes in the body make the skin particularly susceptible to bacteria.

Pus in the eye

Bacteria such as staphylococci or streptococci can infect the eye. In the process, purulent, mostly tough mucus is produced. One speaks of bacterial conjunctivitis, which is highly contagious.
Smear infections lead to a transferability. It is often enough to just look at hands contaminated with bacteria or rub them. The infection can quickly spread to both eyes through the transmission just described.
The conjunctiva, or the inside of the lower part of the eye, turns red. The eye can also "burn". Treatment for bacterial infection in the eye is done with antibiotic eye drops.
In addition, a few things should be considered. A fresh handkerchief should always be used to dry the eye and then disposed of. Hand hygiene is a critical factor in preventing possible transmission. Rinsing with cold, clear water can relieve symptoms. After about 3 days, the pus in the eye will decrease somewhat. If it does not get better after this time, it is recommended to consult an ophthalmologist.

For more information, read our topics: Abscess on the eye and pus in the eye

Pus in the ear

Inflammation in the ear is particularly unpleasant. If pus develops here, there is an infection by bacteria. The causes of bacterial inflammation are often very different.

On the one hand there is the otitis media (Otitis media), which often occurs in young children, is a known cause. In otitis media, the tympanic membrane ruptures spontaneously in the course of the disease, a thin membrane with leakage of pus. After this defense phase of the body, the symptoms like fever subside. An antibiotic can shorten this phase and should be given to prevent injury to the eardrum.

Another possible cause is inflammation of the ear canal (External otitis). Pimples or abscesses in the ear also lead to discharge of pus, but are much less complicated. The diseases mentioned are often caused by water in the ear canal, which cannot drain away and thus leads to inflammation. Therefore, people who often bathe in swimming pools or divers are at risk. But even small lesions, i.e. the smallest injuries, can lead to the penetration of bacteria. Since inflammatory processes in the ear can be associated with pain, fever and other possible complications, it is always recommended to consult an ear, nose and throat doctor.

Read more on the topic: Abscess in the ear

Pus in the nose

Pus can also form in the nose, usually as a episode a sinusitis, so one Sinus infection. This disease usually makes itself noticeable first through one increased fluid loss from the nose and an initially liquid and increasingly slimy one secretion. This secretion also changes its color over time. In the beginning it is almost clear and with time will this yellowish brown.
A cold often goes with it Throat problems consequently, it is also the case here. It is important to mention, however, that not everyone who has sinusitis or sinusitis is affected by pus immediately. Step as a consequence Pain in the affected area of ​​the nose, which can also radiate into the entire face and can increase with movements. A doctor initially examines by touching, which often causes the person to complain of pain. It is often tried that mucus to cough up in the throat.
Once the pus is diagnosed, it is important to determine the severity of the disease. If the pus is treated in a timely manner and as a result of one mild to moderate inflammation is to be viewed, it is often sufficient antibiotic for sinusitis to be prescribed and possibly additionally hygienic measures initiate. However, if it is the result of a severe and protracted inflammation, a doctor may have to remedy the situation with minimally invasive or surgical interventions. However, this must be decided on a case-by-case basis and, thanks to local anesthesia, is often less painful than the person concerned thinks.

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Pus in the throat

For acute or chronic tonsillitis, which are triggered, among other things, by streptococci. Here there is a strong "suppuration" of the palatine tonsil.
If you go to the ear, nose and throat doctor too late, you may develop an almond abscess because the inflammation cannot be diagnosed in time. This is an encapsulated pus focus that could not drain due to small pits that were created by the inflammation described. However, it should also be said that this abscess can also occur without the inflammatory process described above, but this rarely occurs.

Read more on the topic: Pus in the throat

To prevent abscess formation, antibiotics are required after a tonsillitis is detected. These work through the bloodstream and prevent the inflammation from spreading to the point of abscess. The symptoms or complaints are easy to remember.
Difficulty swallowing is the most noticeable symptom. In addition, there is most fever with temperatures above 39 ° Celsius.
In addition, the pain “radiates” in the neck or to the ears. The head is usually tilted to the diseased side. Affected people often avoid (especially warm) food.
If the course is severe, it can also lead to shortness of breath (dyspnoea). Now there is an emergency indication and you should go to the doctor or hospital immediately if you have not already done so.

Also read our topic: Treatment of tonsillitis

Pus in the lungs

Most pus in the lungs results from pneumonia (pneumonia) and represents a special form of this inflammation. This form is a lung abscess, ie an encapsulation of pus in the lung tissue. In contrast to the development of pus in the nose or throat, it is much more difficult for the triggering bacteria to get into the lungs.
A typical cause is the aforementioned pneumonia. The tonsillitis is another major cause of a lung abscess.
Especially when this is untreated or the person's immune system is weakened from the start, pus-forming bacteria can multiply more easily. Oral hygiene is another factor that should be mentioned. Decreased oral hygiene is generally considered to be a risk factor for pneumonia.
A lung abscess only becomes noticeable after a certain time. This can be shown by an X-ray examination. Those affected usually complain of fever, tiredness and, as the disease progresses, of shortness of breath. In particularly severe cases, an effusion of pus occurs and can block a pulmonary artery. Acute lung failure (ARDS) can also occur.

You can find more about this on our website Pus in the lungs



Smaller abscesses such as a harmless pimple on the face do not require any treatment and usually heal on their own. The only important thing here is that these are not opened by pressing or piercing. If this is done anyway, it should be noted that the pus fluid still contains numerous bacteria and is therefore contagious. Therefore, careful hygiene of the abscess is paramount in order not to cause further inflammation. Thorough hand washing before and after contact with the pus is a matter of course and it should be ensured that there is no contact with other body openings or mucous membranes, as these are particularly at risk of being attacked by bacteria. In addition, towels or bed linen that came into contact with the pus should be cleaned.

In the case of larger abscesses that had to be surgically removed, it is important that the wound remains open and is not sewn shut. This prevents any remaining pathogens and pus fluid from being re-encapsulated by the surrounding tissue and forming a secondary abscess. In addition, drains are often placed in the opened abscess so that subsequent pus can drain off in a controlled manner.

Read more about the topic at: abscess

Blood poisoning

Blood poisoning can occur if the germs (mostly bacteria) enter the bloodstream from the pus. In the case of an abscess, for example, the body forms a capsule around the pus so that the surrounding tissue is protected from the pathogens. If you try to open the abscess on your own, the high pressure can tear the capsule and the pus flows into the adjacent tissue and the germs are then absorbed into the bloodstream. So the blood is poisoned by pathogens. The previously localized inflammation can develop into systemic inflammation (sepsis) spread. Since the blood circulates through the entire body, all organs can be attacked by the pathogen. This represents a medical emergency and, in the worst case, causes multiple organ failure, which puts the body in a life-threatening situation. Rapid antibiotic therapy to kill the bacterium, as well as cleaning up the source of inflammation, is of enormous importance in order to combat blood poisoning.

Read more on the subject at: Blood poisoning