Breast infections, also known as mastitis, generally occur among nursing mothers. An injury to the breast can also be a cause. Common bacteria found on the skin, usually Staphylococcus Aureus, enters through tiny cracks in and around the nipples and produces an infection.
SYMPTOMS OF BREAST INFECTIONS
- red, tender, painful swelling or lump in the breast
- swelling of the glands in the armpit
- yellow pus discharging from the nipple
If you experience these symptoms and you are not breast-feeding, see your doctor immediately! They could be indications of a rare type of breast cancer.
HOW TO TREAT BREAST INFECTIONS
- Many infections are minor and heal themselves within a few days.
- Acetaminophen and ice packs three to six times a day can ease the discomfort from swelling. Don’t use the ice packs within one hour of nursing, use warm compresses instead.
- Raw cabbage leaves placed in your bra, next to your skin will also ease the discomfort.
- If the symptoms persist for more than two days, or if your fever suddenly rises, consult your doctor. There are antibiotics that can be prescribed that will not harm you or your baby. Your doctor may also do routine blood tests or withdraw some pus or fluid from the infected area.
HOW TO PREVENT BREAST INFECTIONS
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your breasts.
- Nipples and breasts should be washed and dried before and after breast-feeding.
- Avoid letting your baby bite or chew on your nipples.
- Avoid nursing when you have cracked nipples.
- If nipples are cracked, massage them with cocoa butter or a cream recommended by a doctor.
- Wear clothes that won’t irritate your skin.