Reasons for boils on body: Carbuncles: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Carbuncles: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
A carbuncle is a red, swollen, and painful cluster of boils that are connected to each other under the skin. A boil (or furuncle) is an infection of a hair follicle that has a small collection of pus (called an abscess) under the skin. Usually single, a carbuncle is most likely to occur on a hairy area of the body such as the back or nape of the neck. But a carbuncle also can develop in other areas of the body such as the buttocks, thighs, groin, and armpits.
Most carbuncles are caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which inhabit the skin surface, throat, and nasal passages. These bacteria can cause infection by entering the skin through a hair follicle, small scrape, or puncture, although sometimes there is no obvious point of entry.
Filled with pus — a mixture of old and white blood cells, bacteria, and dead skin cells — carbuncles must drain before they’re able to heal. Carbuncles are more likely than boils to leave scars.
An active boil or carbuncle is contagious: the infection can spread to other parts of the person’s body or to other people through skin-to-skin contact or the sharing of personal items. So it’s important to practice appropriate self-care measures, like keeping the area clean and covered, until the carbuncle drains and heals.
Carbuncles require medical treatment to prevent or manage complications, promote healing, and minimize scarring. Contact your doctor if you have a boil or boils that have persisted for more than a few days.
Risk Factors for Carbuncles
Older age, obesity, poor hygiene, and poor overall health are associated with carbuncles. Other risk factors for carbuncles include:
- Chronic skin conditions, which damage the skin’s protective barrier
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Any condition or treatment that weakens the immune system
Carbuncles also can occur in otherwise healthy, fit, younger people, especially those who live together in group settings such as college dorms and share items such as bed linens, towels, or clothing. In addition, people of any age can develop carbuncles from irritations or abrasions to the skin surface caused by tight clothing, shaving, or insect bites, especially in body areas with heavy perspiration.
Symptoms of Carbuncles
The boils that collect to form carbuncles usually start as red, painful bumps. The carbuncle fills with pus and develops white or yellow tips that weep, ooze, or crust. Over a period of several days, many untreated carbuncles rupture, discharging a creamy white or pink fluid.
Superficial carbuncles — which have multiple openings on the skin’s surface — are less likely to leave a deep scar. Deep carbuncles are more likely to cause significant scarring.
Other carbuncle symptoms include fever, fatigue, and a feeling of general sickness. Swelling may occur in nearby tissue and lymph nodes, especially lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin.
Complications of Carbuncles
Sometimes, carbuncles are caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, and require treatment with potent prescription antibiotics if the lesions are not drained properly.
In rare cases, bacteria from a carbuncle can escape into the bloodstream and cause serious complications, including sepsis and infections in other parts of the body such as the lung, bones, joints, heart, blood, and central nervous system.
Sepsis is an overwhelming infection of the body that is a medical emergency and can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms include chills, a spiking fever, rapid heart rate, and a feeling of being extremely ill.
Home Treatment for Carbuncles
The cardinal rule is to avoid squeezing or irritating a carbuncle, which increases the risk of complications and severe scarring.
Warm compresses may promote the drainage and healing of carbuncles. Gently soak the carbuncle in warm water, or apply a clean, warm, moist washcloth for 20 minutes several times per day. Similar strategies include covering the carbuncle with a clean, dry cloth and gently applying a heating pad or hot water bottle for 20 minutes several times per day. After each use, washcloths or cloths should be washed in hot water and dried at a high temperature.
Washing the carbuncle and covering the area with a sterile bandage also may promote drainage and healing and help prevent the infection from spreading. Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve the pain of an inflamed carbuncle.
It’s important to thoroughly wash your hands after touching a carbuncle. Launder any clothing, bedding, and towels that have touched a carbuncle and avoid sharing bedding, clothing, or other personal items.
Medical Treatments for Carbuncles
See your doctor if a boil or boils do not drain and heal after a few days of home treatment or if you suspect you have a carbuncle. Also, seek medical evaluation for a carbuncle that develops on your face, near your eyes or nose, or on your spine. Also see a doctor for a carbuncle that becomes very large or painful.
Your doctor may cut and drain the carbuncle, and ensure that all the pus has been removed by washing the area with a sterile solution. Some of the pus can be collected and sent to a lab to identify the bacteria causing the infection and check for susceptibility to antibiotics.
If the carbuncle is completely drained, antibiotics are usually unnecessary. But treatment with antibiotics may be necessary in cases such as:
- When MRSA is involved and drainage is incomplete
- There is surrounding soft-tissue infection (cellulitis)
- A person has a weakened immune system
- An infection has spread to other parts of the body
Depending on severity, most carbuncles heal within two to three weeks after medical treatment.
Boils – Better Health Channel
A boil, or furuncle, is an infection of a hair follicle caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). This common bacterium inhabits the skin, and approximately one third of the population carry the germ in their noses. S. aureus is usually harmless, but it can cause a range of mild to severe infections, if it gains access to deeper tissues. Certain areas of the body are more susceptible to boils, including the face, throat, armpits, groin and buttocks. A boil on the eyelid is known as a stye. A carbuncle is an aggregate of connected furuncles and has several pustular openings. Boils usually resolve by themselves, but severe or recurring cases require medical treatment. Options include lancing and draining the boil, and antibiotics.
Symptoms of boils
The evolution of a boil includes:
- A small area of skin becomes inflamed and tender
- A painful lump appears
- After a few days, a white or yellow head forms
- The boil bursts
- The pus drains out
- The site heals
- A scar may form, depending on the severity of the boil.
Risk factors for boils
Cuts, abrasions or scratches allow the bacteria to gain access to deeper tissues. Certain factors make a person more susceptible to outbreaks of boils, including:
- Diabetes – recurring boils may be symptomatic of uncontrolled diabetes, especially for people aged over 40 years.
- Poor hygiene – sweat and dead skin cells in natural creases and crevices, such as the armpit, provide a hospitable home for bacteria.
- Nutrition – inadequate nutrition may reduce a person’s natural immunity.
- Broken skin – other skin conditions, such as eczema, can break the skin surface.
Staphylococcus bacteria can cause a range of infections, from relatively mild to severe and life threatening. There is a small risk that bacteria may spread from the boil to other areas of the body. Infection can cause inflammation of many organs and tissues, including:
- Bone (osteomyelitis)
- Heart (endocarditis)
- Lung (pneumonia)
- Meninges, the membranes lining the central nervous system (meningitis)
- Skin (impetigo)
- Vein (septic phlebitis).
Suggestions for treating a boil include:
- Resist the temptation to squeeze the boil.
- Wash the boil with antiseptic soap.
- Apply a hot compress for 10 minutes or so, three times daily, to encourage the boil to come to a head.
- Cover a burst boil with a bandaid.
- Wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of infection.
- Use fresh towels every time you wash and dry the infected areas.
- See your doctor if the boil isn’t improving after a few days.
Treatment for boils
Medical treatment for a severe boil may include antibiotics and lancing. Boils around the eyes and nose should always be treated by a doctor, because the infection may access the bloodstream and reach the brain. Furunculosis refers to recurring outbreaks of boils. Treatment includes:
- Checking for underlying disorders, such as diabetes.
- Long term use of antibiotics to rid the body of infection.
- Use of antiseptic shampoos and soaps.
- Antibiotic creams applied to the nasal membranes, because S. aureus commonly inhabits the nose.
- Strict attention to personal hygiene.
- Frequent laundering of all bedding and towels.
- In some cases, other members of the household will need similar treatment, since S. aureus is contagious.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
Boils and carbuncles: Overview – InformedHealth.org
A boil (furuncle) is a pus-filled bump in the skin that is caused by a bacterial infection. It’s a bit like a very big yellow pimple, but it’s deeper in the skin and hurts a lot more.
Boils develop when a hair follicle and the surrounding tissue become infected. Hair follicles consist of one hair, the root of the hair, a sebaceous gland and a small muscle that can pull the hair up, making it stand on end. Hair follicle inflammations are sometimes also referred to as “deep folliculitis” or “perifolliculitis.”
The infection causes the skin tissue inside the boil to die, creating a pus-filled hollow space (an abscess). Skin abscesses can develop from boils, but also from other things like infected insect bites or injections with dirty needles. If several boils merge into a larger bump, it’s called a carbuncle.
Sometimes boils go away again on their own, without causing any problems. But it’s often a good idea to get medical treatment. This can help make boils go away quicker, relieve the pain and prevent complications.
Different types of hair follicle infections
Boils are painful swollen bumps, ranging from roughly the size of a cherry stone to that of a walnut. They feel warm and look red, and yellowish pus may show through the skin. If a cluster of boils (a carbuncle) develops, the infection might cause a fever too, making you feel weak and tired.
Boils mainly occur on the face and neck, including the back of the neck. But they sometimes also develop in the armpits, groin, genital area, on the back, bottom or thighs.
Causes and risk factors
Boils are caused by bacteria, most commonly by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (a staph infection). A lot of people have these bacteria on their skin or – for instance – in the lining of their nostrils, without them causing any problems.
They are more likely to lead to boils or other skin infections in people who have weakened immune systems. For this reason, boils are more common in people with medical conditions such as diabetes, chronic infections or cancer. They are also more common in people with eczema, conjunctivitis or certain allergies such as allergic asthma.
Prevalence and outlook
Skin infections are generally very common, but most of them are caused by something else. Only about 3 out of 100 people who go to their doctor with a skin infection have a boil.
Boils develop within a few hours or days. Once the pus has escaped from the red, swollen lump after a few days – either on its own or following treatment – the boil heals within a few weeks. A small scar is left behind.
Sometimes boils heal without the pus coming out. The pus is then broken down by the body.
If you squeeze a boil or scratch it open, the bacteria might spread in the body along the blood or lymph vessels. If, for instance, you can see a red streak leading away from the boil, it means that the infection is moving along a lymph vessel (lymphangitis). Lymph nodes in the affected area may also become inflamed and hurt (lymphadenitis).
People sometimes think that the red streak caused by lymphangitis is a sign of blood poisoning (sepsis). But this very rare, severe complication only develops if a lot of bacteria enter the blood at once and quickly spread throughout the whole body.
If boils occur on the face – particularly around the nose and upper lip area – there’s a certain risk that the bacteria might get into the brain, where they could lead to meningitis or life-threatening blood clots in the large blood vessels (called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST).
Especially in people with a weakened immune system, boils can keep coming back or occur in several different places at the same time. Doctors call this furunculosis.
If several boils develop in neighboring hair follicles and merge into a larger connected area of infection under the skin, it’s called a carbuncle. Carbuncles often occur at the back of the neck, and go deeper into the tissue than boils do.
Doctors usually recognize boils based on their typical appearance and a description of the symptoms. Further diagnostic procedures such as blood tests or a pus swab are only needed if someone often gets boils, has several boils at the same time, or is thought to be at high risk of complications.
The pus is examined in a laboratory in order to find out exactly what kind of bacteria are causing the infection, and determine which antibiotics are most likely to work the best. Blood tests help to find out whether the infection has already spread and whether the person has any other medical conditions that could increase the risk of bacterial infections occurring.
Boils are usually treated by a doctor. The treatment typically involves opening the pus-filled abscess with a small cut, draining the pus, disinfecting the wound and placing strips of sterile gauze inside it to soak up and remove any remaining pus. The wound stays open while healing, so it doesn’t have to be sewn shut. It’s very important not to squeeze boils yourself – especially if they’re on your face.
If a boil is still growing in size, the abscess hasn’t yet fully developed. Doctors can feel the boil with their hands to see whether that is the case. In this phase, you can try to start or speed up the healing process by applying a warm, moist cloth or a special ointment that draws (pulls) pus out of the boil. This kind of ointment is also known as “drawing salve”.
Antibiotics are only needed if complications are likely or have already occurred – for instance, if several boils have merged and developed into a carbuncle. People then sometimes go to the hospital to get antibiotics through a drip (an infusion). It is particularly important that carbuncles are cut open so that the pus can escape. The wound is then repeatedly cleansed using an antiseptic solution.
When people are ill or need medical advice, they usually go to see their family doctor first. Read about how to find the right doctor, how to prepare for the appointment and what to remember.
Gesenhues S, Gesenhues A, Weltermann B. Praxisleitfaden Allgemeinmedizin. Bad Wörishofen: Urban und Fischer; 2017.
Moll I. Duale Reihe Dermatologie. Stuttgart: Thieme; 2016.
Pschyrembel. Klinisches Wörterbuch. Berlin: De Gruyter; 2017.
Sterry W. Kurzlehrbuch Dermatologie. Stuttgart: Thieme; 2011.
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How To Treat & When To Seek Help For Boils
Key points to remember about boils
- a boil is a tender red lump on the skin
- a boil is an infection caused by bacteria
- most children with boils are otherwise healthy
- boils are not usually a serious problem
- there is a small chance of your child becoming sicker if the infection spreads – if this happens you should take your child to your family doctor
- signs of a worsening infection include a fever and redness that is spreading and increasing pain
What are boils?
- a boil (also called a furuncle) is a tender, red lump on the skin
- a boil is caused by a bacterial infection (usually Staphylococcus aureus) of the hair root or sweat pore
- boils are not usually a serious problem – the body’s defences are usually able to get rid of the bacteria
- sometimes the boils may spread to other parts of the body – a group of boils close together is called a carbuncle
- large boils are sometimes called abscesses
- the most common places for boils to appear are on the face, neck, armpits, shoulders, and buttocks (bottom)
What puts my child at risk of getting boils?
Anyone can develop a boil.
Most children with boils are otherwise healthy.
Some of the following problems can increase the risk of your child getting boils:
- broken skin (which allows bacteria to enter)
- weakened defence system (immune deficiency)
- anaemia or iron deficiency
Some medicines can reduce the body’s defence system against germs (bacteria). For this reason, it is important for you to be aware of the side effects of any medicine that your child is taking.
What are the signs and symptoms of boils?
- a hard, red and sore lump on your child’s skin
- increasing size and soreness of the lump
- development of a white or yellow centre in the lump, filled with pus, which may or may not burst
When should I seek help for my child’s boil?
Sometimes, a boil can turn into an abscess. This is a large, deep boil. If you think your child’s boil has become an abscess, take them to see your family doctor.
You should see your family doctor if:
- the boil does not form a head or point or does not get better within 2 days
- your child is complaining of lots of pain or discomfort
- your child develops a temperature
- the skin around the boil has redness that is spreading
- the boil is the size of a 10 cent coin or larger
- the boil keeps getting bigger
- there are several boils
- your child has diabetes or an immune problem
You should see your family doctor urgently if:
- there is a sore or any redness near your child’s eye
How can I care for my child with a boil at home?
You can treat most boils at home, especially if you notice them early.
Make a compress
To help the boil open up and drain, try applying a warm compress. You can make a compress by wetting a facecloth with warm (not hot) water and putting it on the boil for several minutes. Do this a few times a day. Always wash your hands before and after touching the boil.
Practice good hygiene to stop the boil spreading
Boils can spread very easily. If the boil opens on its own and drains, wipe away the pus or blood with a clean cotton ball soaked in antiseptic solution. Wash and dry the area well and then cover it with a plaster. This stops it from spreading and stops your child from scratching it. Wash your hands with soap and dry thoroughly before and after touching the boil.
Wash your child all over with warm soapy water or use an antiseptic solution such as Savlon or Dettol (follow the directions on the bottle for making the solution). Your child will need their own towel and facecloth. Wash these frequently in hot water along with any clothing worn close to the skin.
Don’t squeeze the boil
Squeezing the boil into the surrounding skin can cause a much more serious infection and will be painful.
Keep an eye on the boil
If other boils appear or the boil gets bigger or more painful, you need to take your child to your doctor.
Give pain relief if necessary
Give your child paracetamol, if needed, to help with the soreness. You must follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. It is dangerous to give more than the recommended dose.
What treatments are available if my child’s boil gets worse?
- if there are several boils, or they are large and painful, your doctor will usually prescribe antibiotic medicine
- if your child needs to take antibiotics, follow your doctor’s instructions and take them until they are finished, even if the boils have gone
Surgery – incision and drainage
If your child’s boil has become an abscess, it may need a small operation.
- sometimes the antibiotics may not completely work, and the pus needs to be surgically drained from the boil – this is called incision and drainage
- your child may need to see a surgeon at the hospital for this procedure – a general anaesthetic is usually necessary because it is painful
- the surgeon will cut (incise) the abscess, remove the pus and put a sterile dressing over the cut to absorb any draining pus
- your child may need antibiotics through an intravenous drip (into a vein)
- after the operation, your child will not usually need to stay in hospital
- changing your child’s dressings – an outreach or homecare nurse, or your family doctor’s nurse may do this
- remember to keep the dressing dry
Are there likely to be any complications of boils?
Normally, there are no problems.
There is a small chance of your child becoming sicker if the infection spreads. Signs include:
- a fever
- spreading redness around the boil and increasing pain
If this happens, seek advice from your family doctor.
What if my child keeps getting boils (recurrent boils)?
Sometimes children can suffer from recurrent boils, which can spread to other household members. This is usually because a child carries a strain of bacteria that easily causes infection of any broken skin (minor cuts and scrapes). It is important to treat all household members with skin infection to stop the infection spreading.
Your family doctor may take a swab of the boil and may need to consider whether your child has an underlying medical condition.
Treatments to get rid of bacteria on the skin
This may include strategies like:
Your doctor may also suggest:
- using an alternative antibiotic for a longer course
- using an antiseptic wash for a week
- applying an antibiotic cream to the nose (where the bacteria are often carried)
Is this your child’s symptom?
- Painful red lump in the skin
- Hair follicle infection caused by the Staph bacteria
- Most boils need to be seen by a doctor
Symptoms of a Boil
- Bright red lump (swelling) in the skin.
- Painful, even when not being touched.
- Most often ½ to 1 inch across (1 to 2 cm).
- After about a week, the center of the boil becomes filled with pus. The center becomes soft and mushy.
- The skin over the boil then develops a large pimple. This is known as “coming to a head.”
Causes of Boils
- A boil is an infection of a hair follicle (skin pore).
- Boils are caused by the Staph bacteria.
- Friction from tight clothing is a risk factor. Common sites are the groin, armpit, buttock, thigh or waist.
- Shaving is also a risk factor. Common sites are the face, legs, armpits or pubic area.
Prevention of Boils
- Washing hands is key to preventing Staph skin infections. Have everyone in the home wash their hands often. Use a liquid antibacterial soap or alcohol hand sanitizer. Have everyone shower daily. Showers are best, because baths still leave many Staph bacteria on the skin.
- Avoid nose picking. 30% of people have Staph bacteria in their nose.
- When shaving anywhere on the body, never try to shave too close. Reason: It causes small cuts that allow Staph bacteria to enter the skin.
Prevention – Bleach Baths for Boils that Come Back.
- Some doctors suggest bleach baths to prevent boils from coming back. Talk with your doctor about this treatment.
- Use ½ cup (120 mL) of regular bleach per 1 full bathtub of water.
- Soak for 10 minutes twice weekly.
- This mix of bleach and water is like a swimming pool.
When to Call for Boil
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
- Widespread red rash
- Boil on the face
- Age less than 1 month old (newborn) with a boil
- Weak immune system. Examples are sickle cell disease, HIV, cancer, organ transplant, taking oral steroids.
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Age less than 1 year old with a boil
- Spreading redness around the boil
- There are 2 or more boils
- Size is larger than 2 inches (5 cm) across
- Center of the boil is soft or pus-colored. Exception: a common pimple.
- Boil is draining pus
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Boil suspected (red lump larger than ½ inch or 12 mm across). Reason: confirm your child does have a boil. Note: see home care advice for boil treatment.
- Using antibiotic ointment more than 3 days for small red lump, but not improved
- Boils keep coming back in your family
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
- Boil diagnosed by a doctor
- Possible boil not yet seen by a doctor: painful red lump larger than ½ inch (12 mm) across
- Possible early boil or minor skin infection: tender red lump smaller than ½ inch (12 mm) across. Note: see home care advice for small red lump.
Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Treatment for a Boil (painful red lump larger than ½ inch or 12 mm across)
- What You Should Know About Boils:
- A boil is a Staph infection of a hair follicle.
- It is not a serious infection.
- Boils should be seen by a doctor for treatment.
- The doctor can tell if it needs to be drained and when to do it.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Moist Heat:
- Heat can help bring the boil “to a head,” so it can be drained.
- Apply a warm, wet washcloth to the boil. Do this for 15 minutes 3 times a day.
- Pain Medicine:
- Until it drains, all boils are painful.
- To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
- Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
- Use as needed.
- Opening the Boil – Done Only by a Doctor:
- The main treatment of boils is to open them and drain the pus.
- Then, boils will usually heal on their own.
- Draining the boil must always be done in a medical setting.
- Caution – Do Not Squeeze:
- Do not squeeze a boil or try to open a boil yourself.
- Reason: this can force bacteria into the bloodstream or cause more boils.
- Squeezing a boil on the face can be very harmful.
- Antibiotics By Mouth:
- Antibiotics may or may not be helpful. Your doctor will decide.
- If prescribed, take the antibiotic as directed.
- Pus Precautions:
- Pus or other drainage from an open boil contains lots of Staph bacteria.
- Once a boil is opened it will drain pus for 3 to 4 days. Then it will slowly heal up.
- Cover all draining boils with a clean, dry bandage. A gauze pad and tape work well.
- Change the bandage twice daily.
- Clean the skin around the boil with an antibacterial soap each time.
- Carefully throw the bandage away in the regular trash.
- Wash your hands well after any contact with the boil, drainage or the bandage.
- What to Expect:
- Without treatment, the body will slowly wall off the Staph infection.
- After about a week, the center of the boil will fill with pus. It will become soft.
- The skin over the boil then develops a large pimple. This is known as “coming to a head.”
- The boil is now ready for draining by your doctor.
- Without draining, it will open and drain by itself in 3 or 4 days.
- Return to School or Child Care:
- Closed boils cannot spread to others.
- Children with a closed boil can go to school or child care.
- The pus or drainage in open boils can spread infection to others.
- For open boils, the drainage needs to be fully covered with a dry bandage. If not, stay home until it heals up (most often 1 week).
- Return to Sports:
- Children with a closed boil may be able to play sports.
- Children with an open boil cannot return to contact sports until drainage has stopped.
- Check with the team’s trainer, if there is one.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Fever occurs
- Redness spreads beyond the boil
- Boil becomes larger than 2 inches (5 cm) across
- Boil comes to a head (soft pus-colored center)
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
Treatment for a Small Tender Red Lump (less than ½ inch or 12 mm across)
- What You Should Know About a Small Tender Red Lump:
- A small red lump most often is a minor infection of a hair follicle.
- It may or may not become a boil.
- Use an antibiotic ointment to keep it from getting worse. No prescription is needed.
- Apply it to the red lump 3 times per day.
- Pain Medicine:
- If painful, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
- Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
- Use as needed.
- Caution – Do Not Squeeze:
- Do not squeeze skin lump. Reason: squeezing it can force bacteria into the skin.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Red lump becomes larger or bigger than ½ inch (12 mm)
- Not improved after using antibiotic ointment for 3 days
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the ‘Call Your Doctor’ symptoms.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Last Reviewed: 05/30/2021
Last Revised: 03/11/2021
Copyright 2000-2021. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.
Boils and carbuncles – Overview
Boils and carbuncles are red, painful lumps on the skin that are usually caused by a bacterial infection.
Symptoms of boils and carbuncles
Boils can develop anywhere on your skin. You’re most likely to get one in an area where there’s a combination of hair, sweat and friction. For example, the neck, face or thighs.
Over time, pus forms inside the boil, making it bigger and more painful. Most boils will burst and the pus will drain away without leaving a scar. This can take from 2 days to 3 weeks to happen.
Boils are relatively common in teenagers and young adults, usually in males.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between a boil and a spot. Boils tend to grow bigger and become more painful. Your GP should be able to diagnose a boil from its appearance.
A carbuncle is a cluster of boils that usually develops over a few days. The areas most commonly affected are the back, thighs, or back of the neck.
A carbuncle can grow to a size of 3cm to 10cm and will leak pus from different points.
You may also:
- have a high temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above
- feel generally unwell
- feel weak and exhausted
Carbuncles are less common than boils. They mostly affect middle-aged or older men in poor health or with a weakened immune system.
Causes of boils and carbuncles
Boils and carbuncles are often caused by bacteria called staphylococcus aureus (staph bacteria). The bacteria infects one or more hair follicles. Staph bacteria usually live on the surface of the skin or in the lining of the nose without causing harm.
You can get a boil when bacteria enter the skin through cuts and grazes. Your immune system then sends infection-fighting white blood cells to kill the bacteria.
Over time, pus forms inside the boil. This is from a build-up of dead white blood cells, skin cells and bacteria.
A carbuncle develops when the infection spreads further beneath the skin. This creates a cluster of boils.
Preventing boils and carbuncles
You cannot always avoid getting a boil or carbuncle.
These tips can reduce your risk:
- wash your skin regularly using a mild antibacterial soap
- carefully clean any cuts, wounds or grazes – even small ones
- cover cuts, wounds and grazes with a sterile bandage until they heal
- healthy eating and regular exercise to boost your immune system
How boils and carbuncles are spread
Unlike acne, boils and carbuncles can spread to another part of the body or to another person.
To prevent boils and carbuncles spreading, take simple precautions such as:
- washing your hands after touching affected areas
- using a separate face cloth and towel
- washing underwear, bed linen and towels at a high temperature
- covering wounds with a dressing until they heal
- carefully disposing of used dressings
When to see your GP
See your GP if you think you have a carbuncle.
With boils, you do not usually need to see a doctor as most boils burst and heal by themselves.
See your GP if you have a boil:
- on your face, nose or spine – this can sometimes cause serious complications
- that gets bigger and feels soft and spongy to touch – it may not burst and heal by itself
- that does not heal within 2 weeks
- and you have a temperature and feel generally unwell
Your GP should be able to identify a boil or carbuncle by looking at it.
You may need further tests, such as a blood test or skin swab, if you have:
- a boil or carbuncle that keeps returning or doesn’t respond to treatment
- many boils or carbuncles
- a weakened immune system – from a condition like diabetes or having chemotherapy
Boils and Carbuncles – Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment from Healthily
What is a boil?
A boil is a red, painful, lump on the skin that develops at the site of an infected hair follicle. They are also called furuncles.
A hair follicle is a small cavity in the skin from which a hair grows. Boils most commonly develop on areas of skin where there is a combination of hair, sweat and friction, such as the neck, face or thighs.
Over time, pus forms inside the boil. This means it grows larger and becomes more painful. In most cases, a boil will eventually burst and the pus will drain away. This can take from two days to three weeks to happen.
A carbuncle is a collection of boils that develop in a group of hair follicles under the skin. If you have a carbuncle, you may have additional symptoms such as a high temperature and you may feel weak and exhausted.
Read more about the symptoms of boils and carbuncles.
When to see your doctor
Most boils burst and heal by themselves without the need for medical treatment. However, you should visit your doctor if you have a boil:
- on your face, nose or spine
- that gets bigger and feels soft and spongy to touch (as it may not burst and heal by itself)
- that doesn’t heal within two weeks
You should also see your doctor if you develop a carbuncle or if you have additional symptoms like a high temperature.
You doctor should be able to identify a boil or carbuncle by looking at it.
Causes of boils and carbuncles
Boils and carbuncles are often caused by a type of bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus (staph bacteria). Staph bacteria usually live harmlessly on the surface of the skin or in the lining of the nose.
However, if they get inside the skin they can trigger skin infections, such as boils. In most cases, staph bacteria enter the skin through cuts and grazes.
Read more about the causes of boils and carbuncles.
Who is affected?
Boils are relatively common in teenagers and young adults, especially in males. Young males living in overcrowded and possibly unhygienic conditions are particularly at risk.
Carbuncles are less common and tend to occur mostly in middle-aged or older men who are in poor health because of a pre-existing health condition, such as diabetes.
Treating boils and carbuncles
Most boils can be successfully treated at home. One of the best ways to speed up healing is to apply a warm facecloth to the boil three or four times a day.
If your boil doesn’t heal, your doctor may decide to drain it.
Never attempt to squeeze or pierce a boil or carbuncle because it could cause the infection to spread and may lead to complications.
If you develop a carbuncle or there is a high risk of your boil causing complications, you may be prescribed a week-long course of antibiotics.
Some people’s boils and carbuncles keep returning. In this case, you may need further tests to discover why this is happening. You may be prescribed an antiseptic solution to remove the bacteria from your skin.
Read more about diagnosing boils and carbuncles and treating boils and carbuncles.
Can boils and carbuncles lead to complications?
Although most boils get better without causing further problems, some people develop a secondary infection.
This can range from a relatively minor (though often very painful) infection of the deeper layer of the skin, such as cellulitis, to rarer and more serious infections, such as blood poisoning (sepsis).
Larger boils and carbuncles can also lead to scarring.
Complications are more likely to occur if boils and carbuncles are not treated properly.
Read more about the possible complications of boils and carbuncles.
How do I know if I have a boil or carbuncle?
Boils and carbuncles begin as swollen and painful red lumps on the skin, before increasing in size over the following few days.
Boils can develop anywhere on your skin, but they’re most likely to occur in places where there’s a combination of hair, friction and sweat, such as the:
Over time, boils grow because there is a build-up of yellowish-white coloured pus. The size of boils can vary significantly. Some boils can grow to the size of a golf ball, but most are about the size of a pea.
It’s very important to resist the urge to squeeze the boil because it could lead to more serious complications.
Most boils will burst open eventually, allowing the pus to drain and leaving your skin to heal. This can take from two days to three weeks to happen. Most boils don’t leave any scarring unless they’re particularly large.
A carbuncle is a dome-shaped collection of boils that usually develops over the space of a few days. They most often occur on the back of the neck, back or thighs.
A fully grown carbuncle can range in size from 3cm (1.1 inches) to over 10cm (4 inches), and will leak pus from a number of points. You may also have additional symptoms, such as:
- a high temperature of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above
- a general feeling of being unwell
- feeling weak and exhausted
When to seek medical advice
Contact your doctor for advice if you have:
- a moderate to large boil that feels soft and spongy to the touch
- a carbuncle
- a boil on your face or spine – this can sometimes cause serious complications
- additional symptoms, such as a high temperature or feeling generally unwell
- a secondary infection, such as cellulitis (an infection of the deeper layer of the skin)
- a boil and a health condition known to weaken the immune system, such as type 2 diabetes or HIV or AIDS
- a boil and you’re receiving medical treatment that’s known to weaken the immune system, such as chemotherapy
- a boil that shows no sign of healing after two weeks
What causes boils and carbuncles?
Most boils and carbuncles develop when the hair follicles in your skin become infected with bacteria.
A hair follicle is a cavity in the skin that a hair grows from.
Boils are usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (also known as staph bacteria) infecting one or more hair follicles.
Staph bacteria commonly live harmlessly on the skin and inside the nose and throat. It is estimated that about 20% of otherwise healthy people are long-term carriers of staph bacteria.
Boils tend to occur when the bacteria enters the skin through a cut or graze. This causes your immune system to respond by sending infection-fighting white blood cells to the source of the infection to kill the bacteria.
Over time, a mix of dead bacteria, dead white blood cells and dead skin cells builds up inside the boil to form pus.
Things that make you more likely to get boils include:
- being male (particularly a teenage boy) – this could be because hormonal changes during puberty can make the skin greasy, which may encourage the growth of bacteria
- being in close personal contact with someone who has a boil
- taking part in sports that involve a combination of sweating, close personal contact and frequent friction of the skin, such as rugby and wrestling
- living in conditions that are overcrowded and have poor standards of personal hygiene, or both
- having a pre-existing skin condition, such as atopic eczema or scabies
- obesity – being very overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above
However, it is also common for healthy people with good levels of hygiene to develop boils at some point.
Like boils, carbuncles are usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. A carbuncle develops when the infection spreads further beneath the skin to create a cluster of boils.
People in poor health or those with a weak immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection and illness) are thought most at risk of developing a carbuncle. These include people:
- with diabetes – high sugar levels in the blood make it more difficult for your immune system to protect you against skin infection
- with health conditions known to weaken the immune system, such as HIV
- who are on a long-term course of steroid tablets or injections (corticosteroids) – long-term steroid use makes you more vulnerable to infection
- who are having treatment known to weaken the immune system, such as chemotherapy
- who are malnourished (not getting the nutrients needed from food to maintain good health)
- with skin conditions that affect a large part of their body
- with heart disease
- with a severe drug misuse problem, particularly those who inject drugs
How are boils and carbuncles diagnosed?
Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose a boil or carbuncle by examining it.
Further testing is usually only required if you have:
- a boil or carbuncle that doesn’t respond to treatment – it may be caused by bacteria other than staph bacteria
- multiple boils or carbuncles
- a weakened immune system caused by a condition such as diabetes, or if you’re having a treatment such as chemotherapy
In these circumstances, your doctor will probably use a cotton swab to take a tissue sample from the boil so it can be examined under a microscope.
You may also be referred for a blood test to see if you have an undiagnosed underlying health condition, such as diabetes, which could be increasing your risk of developing boils and carbuncles.
How to get rid of a boil or carbuncle
Most boils get better without the need for medical treatment and can be successfully treated at home.
One of the best ways to speed up the healing process is to apply a warm facecloth to the boil for 10 minutes three or four times a day. The heat increases the amount of blood circulating around the boil, which means more infection-fighting white blood cells are sent there.
When the boil bursts, cover it with sterile gauze or dressing to prevent the spread of infection. After this, wash your hands thoroughly using hot water and soap. This will help prevent you spreading bacteria to other parts of your body or other people.
Over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can help relieve any pain caused by the boil.
See your doctor if you have a larger boil that feels soft and spongy to the touch (the medical name for this is a fluctuant boil).
Once a boil becomes soft and spongy, it is unlikely to burst open by itself and probably won’t respond well to treatment with antibiotics.
Your doctor may be able to remove the pus using a technique called incision and drainage. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to your local hospital for this treatment.
Incision and drainage involves piercing the tip of the boil with a sterile needle or scalpel. This encourages the pus to drain out of the boil, which should help to relieve pain and stimulate the recovery process.
Before having the procedure you’re likely to be given a local anaesthetic to numb the affected area.
Never attempt to squeeze or pierce a boil yourself because this can spread the infection.
Antibiotics are usually recommended:
- for all cases of carbuncles
- if you have a high temperature
- if you develop a secondary infection, such as cellulitis (an infection of the deeper layer of the skin)
- if you have a boil on your face – facial boils have a higher risk of causing complications
- if you’re in severe pain and discomfort
A seven-day course of a penicillin-based antibiotic called flucloxacillin is usually recommended. If penicillin is unsuitable for you, alternative antibiotics, such as erythromycin and clarithromycin, can be used.
It is important to finish the course of antibiotics even if the boil goes away, as not doing so could lead to a return of the infection.
Treating recurrent boils and carbuncles
Boils and carbuncles that keep returning often need further treatment.
Most people with recurrent boils develop them because they are carriers of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (staph bacteria), a common cause of boils and carbuncles. In this case, treatment may be necessary to kill these bacteria.
Treatment will depend on where the staph bacteria are found on your body. Bacteria on the skin can be treated with antiseptic soap.
Staph bacteria are also commonly found in the nose, in which case you may be prescribed an antiseptic nasal cream to apply several times a day for five to 10 days.
You will also be offered advice about preventing boils, such as regularly washing and cleaning cuts and grazes. See preventing boils and carbuncles for more information.
How can I prevent a boil or carbuncle?
It’s not always possible to prevent getting a boil or carbuncle, but some simple steps can reduce your risk of developing the condition.
- washing your skin regularly using a mild antibacterial soap
- always carefully cleaning any cuts, wounds or grazes, even if they look very small
- keeping cuts, wounds and grazes covered with a sterile bandage until they heal
- eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise to boost your immune system – this will make you less likely to develop skin infections, such as boils
Preventing your boil or carbuncle from spreading
If you develop a boil or carbuncle, it’s important to prevent spreading the infection to other parts of your body or to other people. You can do this by:
- washing your hands with an antibacterial soap after touching a boil or carbuncle
- washing underwear, bed linen and towels at a high temperature
- using a separate facecloth and towel
- keeping any wounds covered with sterile gauze until they heal
- regularly changing the gauze covering a boil or carbuncle
- sealing used gauze or dressings in a plastic bag and throwing it in the dustbin immediately
- avoiding places like saunas, gyms and swimming baths until your skin has healed
What complications can boils and carbuncles cause?
Although most boils do not cause further problems, this is not always the case.
Scarring can sometimes occur following a larger boil or carbuncle. These scars never disappear completely, but they do fade with time and become less noticeable.
If you’re particularly concerned about scars, there are a number of treatment options, including:
However, it’s unlikely that your local clinical commissioning group (CCG) will fund these treatments unless it can be shown your scars are causing you considerable psychological distress.
A simpler alternative is to use make-up to conceal any scars you have. Camouflage make-up specially designed for covering scars is available over the counter at pharmacies.
Read more about treating scars.
Spread of infection
The bacteria inside a boil or carbuncle can sometimes spread to other parts of the body and trigger a secondary infection.
Cellulitis is the most common secondary infection associated with boils and carbuncles. It is an infection of the deeper layers of the skin.
Less common secondary infections associated with boils and carbuncles include:
- impetigo – a highly contagious skin infection that causes sores and blisters
- septic arthritis – an infection of a joint
- osteomyelitis – an infection that develops inside a bone
- endocarditis – an infection of the inner layer of the heart
- septicaemia – an infection of the blood
- brain abscess – a collection of pus that develops inside the brain
Some of these less common secondary infections need to be treated with injections of antibiotics. In the case of septicaemia and brain abscess, admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) may be required.
Cavernous sinus thrombosis
Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a very rare but potentially life-threatening complication of a boil. It occurs when an infection triggers a blood clot in the spaces behind the eye socket. The clot begins to increase the pressure on the brain, causing symptoms such as:
- a sharp and severe headache
- swelling of the eyes
- eye pain that’s often severe
Without prompt treatment with antibiotics, cavernous sinus thrombosis can be fatal.
Read more about cavernous sinus thrombosis.
90,000 causes and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention
Reasons for the formation of a boil
The main reasons for the formation of boils are a decrease in immunity and metabolic disorders. Pathology can also develop as a result of mechanical injuries, into which staphylococcus penetrates. Hypothermia of the body, as well as hereditary predisposition are factors that contribute to the development of purulent infection.
The furuncle develops gradually, passing through three stages: the formation of an infiltrate, suppuration and rejection of a purulent rod, healing.At the first stage, tingling, burning, throbbing is felt. The area gradually turns red, becomes denser and rises slightly above the skin.
In the center of the cone-shaped inflamed area, the upper part of the purulent capsule is visible – a pustule. On the fourth day, the abscess acquires a maximum size – from one to three cm in diameter. After “ripening”, the pustule is opened (usually spontaneously or from accidental touch), and pus comes to the surface. The capsule is separated by light pressure on the adjacent areas of the skin or “pushed” by special preparations.
If boils appear in several places or, after healing of one abscess, the next one quickly forms, then it is necessary to carry out a comprehensive diagnosis to identify the cause of the disease.
Treatment of a boil
For the treatment of furunculosis, antibiotic therapy is used (injections of antibiotics into the tissues surrounding the abscess), UV irradiation, physiotherapy, injections of vitamins, the introduction of fruits rich in vitamin C into the diet. Bandages with ointment are applied to the boil (during ripening), and after rejection pustules, the wound is treated with antiseptic solutions.Comprehensive treatment gives good results.
No complications occur with proper treatment. But if the patient tries to squeeze out or open an unripe boil, or takes hot baths, visits a sauna, the consequences can be serious – the infection will spread throughout the body. In this case, long-term inpatient treatment will be required. It is especially dangerous to injure abscesses that are localized near the lymph nodes – in this case, lymphadenitis develops rapidly (no less dangerous disease than blood poisoning).
Even if only one boil appears, be sure to consult a dermatologist!
Furunculosis and its complications are effectively treated in our clinic. We will diagnose, establish the cause of the disease, prescribe adequate treatment and prevent the formation of scars at the site of the abscess.
Furuncle in a child – how to treat?
Furunculosis – a disease manifested in the appearance on the skin of two or more foci of purulent inflammation of the hair follicle.These foci are called “boils”. Furunculosis in children requires special attention from adults, and before using any treatment (especially antibiotics), you should accurately find out the causes of the disease. In addition, not all treatment methods can be applied in pediatrics.
Boils are formed as a result of penetration into the hair follicle and sebaceous gland of Staphylococcus aureus (sometimes white). Furunculosis is an unpleasant and rather dangerous disease, especially when this problem occurs in a child, and pustules appear on the face or have chosen the neck area.
Reasons for the appearance of boils
There are a lot of sebaceous, sweat glands, hair follicles in the skin. The hair follicles are surrounded by subcutaneous fatty tissue. If an infection enters the skin, then the development of an acute inflammatory process begins, which is expressed by a boil. If a boil appears not in one, but in many places, then such a process is called furunculosis. A boil can occur in parallel with diseases such as hypovitaminosis, diseases of the digestive system, diabetes mellitus, malnutrition, a weakened immune system, and frequent hypothermia.
Symptoms of furunculosis
Furuncles are quite painful, and, depending on their location, often interfere with the usual everyday activities. An abscess on the priest interferes with sitting, on the head – turning the head, on the face – it delivers painful sensations when touching the eye or nose, in the armpits it interferes with making movement with the hands.
With furunculosis, a child sometimes shows signs of intoxication. His body temperature rises, his state of health worsens, he suffers from a headache, and his appetite decreases.
Due to the fact that the foci of inflammation have a superficial location (except for ulcers in the ear), it is not difficult to diagnose furunculosis. However, with prolonged, non-treatable furunculosis, it may be necessary for a detailed diagnosis to establish the exact causes of the disease. In this case, immunodiagnostics is performed, a detailed blood test, and the boil is examined for bacterial inoculation of purulent contents. If the study has not yielded results, it is necessary to do a complete examination of the body, i.e.because furunculosis may be the result of any general disease (blood disease, diabetes, etc.).
How to treat boils
Only the doctor will prescribe the correct treatment and explain to the parents what to do with the abscess, given the stage of development of the boil. As a rule, at the initial stage of the disease (before the formation of pus), it is enough to treat the abscess with local ultraviolet radiation, and antibiotics are not required here.
If the boil has passed into the stage of maturation, then the doctor may prescribe antibiotics, more precisely, injecting them into the lesion.You can also treat furunculosis with ichthyol ointment, applying it to the abscess twice a day and covering it with a thin layer of cotton wool. This treatment is repeated until the boil opens. With furunculosis on the face, you can take other treatment, for this there is a decent arsenal of drugs.
When the treatment led to the opening of the abscess, the resulting ulcer should be treated with furacilin or hydrogen peroxide. After that, a bandage with a sodium chloride solution should be applied to the wound.
Prevention of furunculosis
It is important to follow the rules of hygiene, all abrasions and cuts should be immediately treated with aseptic agents.To avoid an abscess in the ear, do not use any sharp objects that could injure you to clean your ears.
How to get rid of a boil – Komiinform
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A new formation on the skin called a furuncle often causes many problems. Therefore, it is extremely important to know how to get rid of a boil at home.An abscess always appears suddenly, in a couple of hours. After that, the ailment brings a lot of trouble to the person – the painful area becomes very inflamed and then hurts, and also disturbs virtually any movement. In this short article, we will talk about the nature of this sore, the reasons for its appearance, as well as effective ways to eliminate it.
The popular name for this sore is chiriy. However, it is not used by doctors. The medical name of the disease is furunculosis.A boil is a small purulent rod that is located under the skin. In this case, only a small part of the dead skin cells can be seen from above. Boils are often confused with ordinary acne, because they have the same size, about 3 mm, as well as a purulent shade. However, chirium is much more painful. A whole reddish ring forms around the latter.
The place of appearance of an abscess can be almost the entire human body. Most often, the ailment can manifest itself on the buttocks and neck, in the armpits and on the groin.As a rule, these sores appear in the autumn or winter season, when there is not enough sunlight.
Reasons for the appearance of
What causes boils? Too many bad bacteria are usually to blame. These dangerous bacteria enter the hair follicle easily cause inflammation, after which pus is formed. If the human body is healthy, then the number of these bacteria in it is normal. They multiply extremely quickly only at the time of illness.
Among the causes of abscesses, the following can be noted:
- Constant violation of personal hygiene rules. If a person is very bad about his own cleanliness, the number of dangerous bacteria can begin to grow rapidly and easily outnumber useful ones. Poor skin care, as well as too little washing of the whole body or hands, is one of the main causes of this sore.
- Pustules form in places where it is humid all the time. Pustules can appear after hypothermia or overheating of the whole body.
- Decreased immunity. Due to various diseases, the immune system is greatly weakened. At the same time, the ability to fight a variety of dangerous bacteria is significantly reduced. Furunculosis often worries patients with diabetes, AIDS, or cancer.
- Ulcers can form due to gastrointestinal ailments, with various hormonal ailments.
The key culprit in the manifestation of such sores is a bacterial infection. The latter is able to maintain balance or begin to develop rapidly.It all depends on the effectiveness of human immunity.
How to cure the problem
To eliminate the abscess, you can use one of two options:
- Conservative treatment.
- Surgical treatment.
The first way – the patient needs to monitor his hygiene, as well as regularly lubricate the sore spot with boric alcohol. At high temperatures, a course of special antibiotics is recommended. For faster opening of the chirium, you can apply a warm bandage to it.
The second option, or the so-called surgical treatment, is the opening of the abscess by a professional doctor. After the complete exit from the painful wound of the key culprit of suppuration – the rod, the sore spot must be thoroughly washed, a small bandage with Vishnevsky’s ointment is applied on top of it. So that the infection cannot exactly spread, a fresh wound must be regularly lubricated with Esithromycin ointment. You can also use Levomekol. These products will help tighten damaged skin completely.If the chiriy was very large and it was difficult to eliminate it, you may need to visit the so-called dressing room.
When the body is very weak, or the boils are large and painful, a full course of immunotherapy is prescribed. Certain vaccines may also be prescribed by your doctor. In very rare cases, when chirias have passed into the so-called plural form, real blood transfusions and a full course of antibiotics may be required.
In order not to bring the boil to such a state, it is necessary to carry out special preventive measures immediately after the appearance of an incomprehensible tubercle.Any ailment is much easier to cure in the early stages.
It is important to understand that it is not always possible to treat abscesses on your own, since not all of them are amenable to such measures. In addition, the disease can be triggered, and this can negatively affect the human body. Therefore, you should not rely on fate here, it is still recommended to go to the doctor.
However, if you decide to act on your own, it is important to know that folk methods will be effective only with such nuances:
- Boil dimensions no more than 3 mm.
- The boil is solitary, there are no more such formations on the body.
- No complications and high fever.
- This sore appeared for the first time.
- You are in good health.
Only if the conditions described above are present, you can take a chance and try to eliminate the boil on your own. Among the most popular folk methods are the following:
- Camphor oil and baked onions. Bake well-peeled onions in a regular oven and finely grate them.Add well heated camphor oil. This mixture must be applied to the painful area. The onion will easily remove the pus, and the stem itself can simply be pulled out with ordinary tweezers.
- Honey cake. You will need to make a special honey cake. To do this, mix the honey and flour until a sufficiently stiff dough is formed. Make a small cake and gently place it on the sore. Secure the cake with a bandage well dipped in vodka. After that, wrap the sore spot with cling film.
- Potatoes. This vegetable is a well-known drawer for a wide variety of ailments. Just grate it to get gruel, and then apply it to the sore spot. You can also wrap the sore in warm cloth or plastic.
- Rye bread. The high efficiency of this method has been proven over time. When using it, the sore disappears almost immediately. Redness will gradually disappear if you chew a piece of bread, salt it and gently apply it to a small wound, wrapping the sore spot with a special cling film.Salt will immediately eat away at the skin, and black bread will easily absorb all the pus.
- Aloe leaf. This is a fairly effective option for combating a boil. You just need to sprinkle the abscess with baking soda and attach a leaf of the plant to the wound with transverse cuts. Wrap with foil. The boil will open. If not, then you just need to repeat this procedure.
Thus, it is advisable to treat a boil with the help of a professional doctor.However, if the problem is not very big, you can always use effective folk methods. The main thing to remember is that in most cases it is not worth risking, and it is better to immediately visit a doctor who will at least examine the sore spot and give the necessary medical recommendations for treating the boil.
CONTRAINDICATIONS ARE AVAILABLE. IT IS NECESSARY TO CONSULT A SPECIALIST.
Boils are painful, inflamed, pus-filled cavities in the skin. The size of the boil can be from a pea to a walnut. Although boils can occur anywhere on the body, they most often occur in areas where hair is present and where friction occurs, such as the neck, armpits, groin, face, chest, buttocks, etc. Carbuncles are especially large boils or several adjacent boils, which are usually deeper and more painful.If you suspect a carbuncle, be sure to consult your doctor, because inflammation can enter the bloodstream, and then you may need antibiotics.
Causes of a boil
Boils occur when bacteria invade the hair follicle. The skin tissue swells and a red, pus-filled, painful swelling appears. Until the boil is opened and emptied (the pus contained in it will not come out), the boil will hurt and it will be unpleasant to touch it.
When a small boil appears for the first time, accompanied by soreness, redness, swelling and itching, you can try to cope with the problem yourself.
If the boil does not form a head or does not improve within three days, or if the boil is very painful, with a lot of pus, if the pain that occurs interferes with movement, or if the boil has arisen in the face, spine or rectal area, if it increases temperature or red stripes are visible, diverging from the boil (lymphangitis), as well as with the frequent appearance (furunculosis) of even small boils, you should definitely consult a doctor.
A boil is a rather serious disease, which should be treated with great caution and in no case self-medicate. You should not make compresses, use ichthyol and Vishnevsky ointment – in most cases this leads to the spread of the inflammatory process.
Treatment of a boil is only surgical, because no other therapy will lead to success if the focus of purulent inflammation is not promptly removed or opened and drained.The basic principle of purulent surgery “Ubi pus, ibi evacua” (where there is pus, there is excised and dissected), known since the time of Hippocrates, has not lost its significance to this day, despite the use of highly effective antibacterial drugs, powerful detoxification, immune therapy, etc. .
The opening of the boil is usually performed under local anesthesia and is painless for the patient. The meaning of the treatment of a boil, like any purulent focus, is to drain the purulent discharge, and then provide constant drainage from the wound.
Simple (uncomplicated) boils can be treated on an outpatient basis and do not require hospitalization.
But in the case of a severe course, if the patient develops swelling of the soft tissues of the cheeks, lips or eyes, urgent hospitalization is required in the surgical department for constant monitoring of the development of the process and prevention of complications.
At high temperatures, strict bed rest, liquid food is prescribed, the patient is forbidden to talk, chew.
Furunculosis (furuncle) | Symptoms | Diagnostics | Treatment
Furunculosis (furuncle) – the appearance on the body of multiple boils or, as they are colloquially called, boils. A boil is an acute purulent-necrotic inflammation of the hair follicle, sebaceous gland, and the surrounding connective tissue. It is caused by pyogenic bacteria, primarily Staphylococcus aureus. For the treatment of furunculosis, you must consult a dermatologist.
Causes of furunculosis
The main cause of this disease is the activation of staphylococcal microflora, which can be caused by various circumstances. It provokes a purulent-inflammatory process.
The development of furunculosis is usually associated with the presence of immunodeficiency. Most often it is provoked:
- diabetes mellitus;
- foci of chronic infection;
- violation of the diet;
- metabolic disorders.
90,087 chronic intoxications;
The reason for the introduction of staphylococcus into the hair follicle can be trauma to the skin, its hypothermia or pollution. Often, several factors affect the development of the disease. Micro-trauma to the skin in men caused by careless shaving, especially often cause the appearance of boils.
Furunculosis can be divided into acute and chronic. In acute furunculosis, rashes on the body occur almost simultaneously or for a short time, accompanied by malaise, headache, fever.In a chronic type of the disease, such outbreaks occur with some frequency over many months and even years.
Symptoms and manifestations of furunculosis
The disease begins with the formation of a purulent-inflammatory infiltrate around the hair follicle. After a few days, the inflammatory process covers the entire hair follicle, after which the inflammation affects the adjacent sebaceous gland and connective tissue. Often, before the appearance of boils, a person experiences itching in the place where inflammation will subsequently develop.
Externally, a furuncle is a cone-shaped knot that rises above the surface of the skin. At first, it may not be felt in any way and not cause any discomfort, but as the focus of inflammation forms, soreness increases: a person can feel both swelling and pain of a pulsating or twitching nature. With furunculosis of the face and neck around the infiltrate, as a rule, there is extensive edema.
On the third or fourth day, a fluctuation zone is formed in the center of the infiltrate.If you press it, you can feel the movement of purulent masses in the follicle cavity. In this case, a small focus of purulent fusion of tissues appears around the hair, a fistula begins to form.
This disease does not have a clear localization in a certain area of the body, but it usually affects areas of problem skin, prone to oily. Therefore, most often people are faced with furunculosis under the arm, on the face, forearms, back of the neck, buttocks and thighs.
A single boil in the overwhelming majority of cases does not cause any serious deterioration in the patient’s health.The body temperature remains normal, nothing interferes with the previous way of life.
If the boil is opened, viscous pus is released, accumulated on the surface of the inflammatory element, after which a small ulcer forms, at its bottom you can see a green rod – it is considered one of the most characteristic symptoms of furunculosis. In most cases, it is rejected after about 5 days with a slight admixture of blood and pus.
After the rod is rejected, the process of inflammation stops, pain decreases, tissue edema subsides, and the affected area becomes less sensitive to palpation.The resulting ulcer is filled with granulation tissue, in its place a retracted scar appears, the size and depth of which depends on the size of the area of necrosis in the central part of the boil.
Another development of events is also possible: pus and necrotic masses remaining after opening the boil lead to the development of chronic furunculosis.
Furunculosis of the face can lead to an increase in body temperature, headache, various manifestations of intoxication. The likelihood of such a development of events is especially high if boils arise in the area of the nasolabial triangle or the external auditory canal.At the same time, the skin of the face acquires a purple color, puffiness develops, and when pressed on the skin, a person will experience painful sensations.
Damage to boils on the face during washing or shaving, as well as attempts to squeeze out boils on your own, can cause thrombophlebitis of the veins.
Furunculosis is especially dangerous in children. In addition to the already mentioned thrombophlebitis (which can cause the inflammatory process to enter the cranial cavity, which contributes to the development of meningitis, which can be fatal), it can lead to the development of other dangerous diseases, including:
- lymphangitis – inflammation of regional lymphatic vessels;
- lymphadenitis – inflammation of the regional lymph nodes;
- phlegmon – acute inflammation of the surrounding adipose tissue;
- abscess – a process in which the adjacent tissues become inflamed, melting to form cavities containing pus.
If you experience similar symptoms, see your doctor immediately. It is easier to prevent a disease than to deal with the consequences.
Differential diagnostics with fungal skin lesions, hydradenitis, systemic vasculitis is carried out.
Undesirability of self-medication
How to cure furunculosis? In order to get rid of boils, you need to see a dermatologist.Often people resort to self-medication, use ointment from boils – for example, Vishnevsky’s ointment – but this can lead to unpleasant consequences: both to the further development of the process and to the occurrence of phlegmon. The fact is that Vishnevsky’s ointment is used only at the granulation stage, after the resolution of the purulent capsule.
Self-extrusion of boil rods is also undesirable, regardless of whether it is done by hand or using vacuum cans. Extrusion can lead to premature opening of the boil, as a result of which nearby skin areas are exposed to pathogenic microflora.Often in this case, part of the rod remains inside, which leads to the chronization of the process.
Treatment of furunculosis
In order to cope with the disease, be sure to contact a specialist and follow all his instructions.
During the treatment of furunculosis, the patient will have to limit water procedures or even completely abandon them. An exception is extensive furunculosis: in this case, warm baths with potassium permanganate are recommended to disinfect the skin.Instead of washing and taking a bath, visiting a bath, washing in the shower, you will need to wipe healthy skin with non-aggressive antiseptic solutions, for example, salicylic alcohol or furacilin solution.
Personal hygiene during the treatment of furunculosis is extremely important – it has already been said more than once that skin microtrauma can lead to the further development of this disease. Therefore, it is necessary to often change underwear and bedding, treat any, even the smallest cuts and scratches with a solution of brilliant green.
At the stage of maturation of boils, the skin around them must be treated with antiseptics. Chipping of the affected area with a solution of novocaine with antibiotics is also used: antibiotics for furunculosis help relieve pain and prevent the spread of the purulent process to healthy tissues. Usually, substances such as penicillin, ekmonovicillin, bicillin are used – other antibiotics are much less effective.
To prevent complications such as phlegmon or abscess, experts recommend electrophoresis in combination with antimicrobial drugs.
If the fluctuation zone has already been identified, an application can be used for treatment: crystalline salicylic sodium is applied to the center of the furunculosis elements, which is then fixed with a dry bandage. This contributes to the accelerated rejection of the rod.
If, as a result of the disease, an abscess develops, the boil must be opened under local anesthesia, while purulent-necrotic masses are removed. After opening the wound is washed with 3% hydrogen peroxide, it will need to be bandaged with a bandage with one of the proteolytic drugs: it can be either Levomikol or synthomycin or erythromycin ointment.Dressings need to be changed every other day. After the process enters the granulation stage, Vishnevsky liniment or ichthyol-based ointment is applied – this ensures better healing.
Ultraviolet irradiation and UHF therapy are used at all stages of furunculosis.
Antibiotics for furunculosis are also used – in cases of abscesses and in the chronic course of the disease. If general diseases are diagnosed, the patient is exhausted, the immune status is low, a specialist can prescribe antibiotics in the form of intramuscular injections.
The body’s resistance in case of furunculosis can be increased with the help of gamma globulin and ozone therapy, vitamin therapy, autohemotransfusion, general strengthening drugs are also prescribed.
Regardless of the stage at which furunculosis is, it is necessary to correct the concomitant pathology: to sanitize chronic infectious foci, treat diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, endocrine disorders, and so on.
During treatment, it is necessary to exclude spicy and fatty foods from the diet, eat more food rich in vitamins and protein, which promotes tissue regeneration.Foods with a high fiber content promote good gastric emptying, which avoids dysbiosis, and this is very important with furunculosis. Instead of tea and coffee, it is better to drink rosehip broth, compote or fruit drink.
If the furuncle is removed at home, bacteria from the lesion can enter the bloodstream, causing lymphadenitis, phlegmon, sepsis, staphylococcal meningitis. Home dissection of abscesses on the face above the upper lip is especially dangerous.
The risk group includes people:
- with low immunity;
- carriers of pathogenic staphylococcus;
- neglecting the rules of personal hygiene.
Prevention of furunculosis
To avoid the onset of the disease, it is necessary to observe personal hygiene, timely treat systemic diseases, pustular rashes, and prevent the appearance of chronic foci of infection. It is also extremely important to lead a healthy lifestyle, monitor nutrition.
This article is posted for educational purposes only and does not constitute scientific material or professional medical advice.
treatment or removal at the medical center
Many people think that a boil is something like a pimple. That he himself will pass and this is absolutely not a cause for excitement. However, it is not. Furuncle is a purulent inflammation of the follicle and the surrounding connective tissue, and this disease should be taken seriously.
The appearance of a boil, as a rule, is associated with pathogenic microorganisms (most often these are staphylococci). If you find a boil on your body, or some kind of purulent formation, you should consult a dermatologist.
Why does a boil appear?
On the skin of each of us there are many follicles (hair follicles) into which the sebaceous glands open. When an infection gets there, sometimes purulent inflammation appears. This occurs most often in people with weakened immune systems.
Unlike other types of skin inflammation, a furuncle can appear only where hair grows, i.e. there are hair follicles.
Most often, the location of the boil is: the back of the head, face, back of the neck, buttocks, groin areas, lower back, legs, arms.
A furuncle appears in the form of a slight redness, then begins to “mature”, a seal appears and only then an inflamed purulent node. As the boil grows, pain appears, sometimes with an increase in body temperature and an increase in lymph nodes.The boil can spontaneously open up. After all the pus is gone, the pain will pass and after a week or two, the inflammation should go away on its own.
Most importantly, you should never squeeze the boil out!
Sometimes several hair follicles become inflamed at once, and a rather significant edema occurs. The skin at the site of inflammation can become very red and pus appears. Extensive inflammation of the hair follicles is called a carbuncle. This disease can be accompanied by severe pain, fever, vomiting, and even fainting.
How to treat a boil?
If you find such inflammation on your body, it is best to consult a dermatologist in order to avoid unpleasant consequences in which pus can go to the inner layers of the skin and cause serious infections.
If you consult a doctor with this problem in the early stages, it is highly likely that it will be possible to relieve inflammation with special ointments containing an antibiotic. If the boil has already taken on a serious scale, the doctor will need to open the boil and ensure the outflow of pus out.
90,000 Furuncles on the body: causes and treatment
The causes of boils on the body are varied, with the appearance of the first signs it is better to entrust health to the doctor. With the right treatment, the risk of relapse and possible complications is minimal.
Reasons for the appearance of boils on the body
The source of boils on the body is Staphylococcus aureus, less often streptococci. Pathogens can hide asymptomatically on the skin and mucous membranes, without causing harm to the wearer.With the advent of suitable circumstances, the microorganism is activated. The reason may be a minor scratch, weakened immunity, which will create favorable conditions for the development of a purulent-necrotic process.
A furuncle is formed only in the area of the hairline and differs from ordinary acne in size, appearance, soreness. Deep damage to the hair follicle causes inflammation of the nearest body tissues, accompanied by pain, burning sensation, itching. Outwardly, it looks like a red bump, at the top of which you can see an abscess.Single purulent formations are easy to treat, but numerous rashes require a more thorough examination with the participation of a doctor. The dermatologist will determine the cause and correct it.
The appearance of a boil on the body occurs in the presence of two data – an infection and a concomitant factor that causes a painful inflammatory process to start.
The reasons for an external boil include:
- The body is exposed to hypothermia, overheating.
- Violation of the integrity of the skin, trauma to the skin, providing easy penetration of infection.
- Frequent rubbing of body parts by clothing causes the rapid penetration of pathogens.
- Presence of skin diseases (eczema, scabies, neurodermatitis), accompanied by scratching of the skin. Wrong treatment.
- Non-observance of the rules of personal hygiene of the body.
- Malfunctioning of the sebaceous glands, increased sweating.
The reasons for the internal nature of the appearance of a boil are the following factors:
- violation of metabolic processes;
- weakening of the immune system;
- the presence of chronic ailments associated with inflammation;
- poor nutrition, lack of vitamins as the cause of formations;
- diabetes mellitus;
- violation of the functionality of the nervous, endocrine systems, digestion, blood circulation.
Often the reason for the formation of a boil on the body is smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, long-term medication for the treatment of other pathologies, physical and nervous tension, stress, depression.
All this leads to a deterioration in the protective properties of the body, a weakening of immunity, which acts as a factor in the appearance of pathogenic bacteria and the growth of sore acne on the body.
From what pop up constantly
If boils appear on the body often, it means that mistakes were made in the treatment.The main cause is blood infection. This happens with self-opening of the abscess. Extruding, piercing the purulent rod is fraught with deepening inflammation, the penetration of bacteria into the blood. After the circulatory system spreads the infection throughout the body, new formations appear, which are difficult to get rid of.
Only a comprehensive examination, treatment will help eliminate the causes of often popping up boils.
Types, localization and forms of manifestation of chiriev
Regardless of the reasons, the boil causes a lot of trouble to the owner, requires complex treatment.It can be a small pimple or a large, swollen, egg-sized lesion. He can jump on the body in areas with hair, skin areas subject to frequent friction with items of clothing. The armpits, neck, chest, intimate parts of men and women are at risk. There are many reasons for the formation of inflammatory foci on the face.
Depending on the location of the boil on the body, it has the following varieties:
- Common teal – inflammation of one hair follicle, pops up singly.
- Carbuncle. The reason for the development of this type is a severe inflammatory process of several hair follicles located nearby. A scattering of boils on the body merges into one large pathological focus. Several rods are opened at the same time, pus flows out in different places, which complicates the course of the disease. Home treatment is unacceptable.
- Pilonidal sinus is a dangerous type of boil developing in the coccyx region. The disease will quickly spread when purulent contents are released, which complicates treatment.With such rashes on the body, a visit to the hospital is mandatory.
- Purulent hydradenitis is numerous abscesses that do not have a core. Developed due to inflammation of the sweat glands in the groin, armpits. They can only be treated with a surgical method.
Furuncles on the body go through several stages of development, the main thing is not to delay the treatment. When a small abscess appears, it is advisable to take the necessary measures – seek help from a doctor. Ignoring the inflammatory process can cause the spread of infection to other tissues, developing furunculosis, which can develop into a chronic form.
Often, abscesses on the body, especially on the face, become a factor in the development and cause of sepsis with a possible fatal outcome.
Features of treatment of boils
With the appearance of a red swelling on the body, resembling a furuncle, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist. After collecting an anamnesis, an objective examination, the doctor will diagnose. If necessary, he will prescribe additional tests to identify the true causes of the onset of pathology. Uncomplicated abscesses are treated on an outpatient basis, severe cases are hospitalized.The therapy takes place under the supervision of a physician.
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In some cases, self-treatment is the cause of the spread of infection and the development of complications. Unknowingly, the patient can open the rod on the body, squeeze out a purulent mass, provoking a secondary infection. This cannot be done. The boil must go through all the stages of maturation and open up on its own.With the help of medicines, this process can be accelerated.
The cause of chiries on the body can be external and internal. The drugs are taken at the local and systemic level.
To accelerate the maturation and discharge of pus on the boil, topical preparations with pulling properties for treatment will help:
- Vishnevsky ointment;
- Ichthyol ointment.
They are placed under a gauze bandage, which must be changed regularly. When changing the dressings, the boils on the body must be treated with an antiseptic. For this, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, Chlorhexidine, betadine are suitable. After the breakthrough and discharge of purulent-necrotic masses, ointments with an antibacterial effect are applied (Bactroban, oflokain ointment).
If an abscess on the face or complications appear, antibiotics in the form of tablets are prescribed for treatment (Azithromycin, Ampicillin, Cefutil).
In difficult cases, when the course of the disease is accompanied by complications, surgical removal is indicated.
The operation is performed under local anesthesia. The doctor uses a scalpel to open the boil and to drain the pus. After the patient must treat the area on the body with an antiseptic, drink antibiotics, undergo a course of physiotherapy.
The patient can use traditional medicine methods, but they do not eliminate the cause.It is advisable to consult a doctor for contraindications. You can treat boils on the body with the following recipes:
- Camomile compress. For cooking, you need 2 tbsp / l of dry chamomile, 0.5 liters of boiling water. Pour and leave for about half an hour. Wet gauze or cotton pad, wring out, apply to the hearth on the body. Compress for treatment can be done only at the initial stage of boil formation.
- Baked onion compress. For treatment, you will need one onion peeled from the husk.Wrap it in foil, bake it in the oven. Then grind to a mushy state, attach to the teal, cover with a film, a warm scarf or cloth. The procedure is done at bedtime and the dressing remains in place overnight.