Carbuncle

A skin abscess happens when pus collects in hair follicles, skin tissues, or under the skin. A carbuncle is collection of boils is localized, red, a swollen painful suppurating area discharging pus from several points. A group of adjacent hair follicles becomes deeply infected with Staphylococcus aureus. They are much less common now than few decades ago, presumably because of improved levels of hygiene. The lesions are upto 4 inches in diameter, and represent the infection of several follicles.

More of Carbuncle

They affect males more frequently than females, and especially older men with poor health or a weakened immune system. Overcrowded and unhygienic living conditions increase the risk. Diabetes need to be excluded.

Furuncles and carbuncles are similar but with some differences.

A furuncle starts as a red lump & may be tender. The lump rapidly fills with pus, and as it grows it may burst.

Furuncles and carbuncles typically affect the thighs, armpits, buttocks, face, and neck.

Individuals with weakened immune systems, adolescents, and young adults are more susceptible to furuncles than younger children or older adults.

Furuncles and carbuncles both result in swelling under the skin, and there may be other symptoms, too.

More of Carbuncle

Furuncles

Furuncles develop rapidly as pink or red bumps. The surrounding skin is red, inflamed and often tender.

The lesions often appear on the neck, breast, face, buttocks, or thighs. They occur in places prone to hair, sweat, and friction, and they tend to start in a hair follicle.

The bump fills with pus within a few days, and it grows. The bigger it gets, the more painful it becomes.

Furuncles may go away without any intervention. Sometimes they burst and heal without a scar within 2 days to 3 weeks.

Carbuncles

It is a collection of boils on one site. It is larger than a single boil, measuring up to 4 inches across. A carbuncle usually has one or more openings that drain pus onto the skin.

The infection may lead to generalized body symptoms, including a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and a general feeling of being unwell, weak, and exhausted.

The infection can spread to other parts of the body, and it can spread to other people too, so that other household members may develop at the same time.

Carbuncles are most likely on the back, the thighs, or the back of the neck.

Carbuncle infections tend to be deeper and more severe than those caused by furuncle. The risk of scarring is higher, and they take longer to develop and to resolve than furuncles.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) live on the skin and inside the nose and throat.

Usually, the body’s immune system keeps them under control, but sometimes they enter the skin through a hair follicle or through a cut or graze in the skin.

When the skin becomes infected, the immune system responds by sending white blood cells to the affected area to destroy the bacteria. Pus is an accumulation of dead bacteria, dead white blood cells, and dead skin.

The following conditions increase the risk of developing furuncles:

  • Diabetes: High levels of blood sugar, or glucose, can reduce the immune systems & easily have a ability to respond with infection.
  • Medications: Some medications weaken the immune system.
  • HIV and some other diseases: Certain conditions weaken the immune systems.
  • Skin conditions: Psoriasis, eczema, and acne increase susceptibility.

Obesity also increases the risk.

Often, the normal bacteria in a person’s nose or on their skin can lead to an abscess. Sometimes, however, the infection can spread when people share space, materials, or devices, such as clothing and whirlpool footbaths.

  • A warm compress can decrease pain and swelling. It may also help drain pus and speed up healing. Apply a moist, warm compress for 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day or as directed.
  • Bandages with medicine on them can help heal your wound. Place the bandages over the wound as directed. Ask how often to change the bandages.
  • Incision and drainage is a procedure to drain the fluid or pus that has collected in the infected area.
  • Medicines:
    • Antibiotics help treat the bacterial infection.
    • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever.
    • NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever.

 

Home care

It is important to wash the hands thoroughly after touching the site and to avoid squeezing a furuncle or carbuncle, as this increases the risk of spreading infection.

Applying a warm face cloth for 10 minutes a few times a day may help speed up the healing process. Heat draws more blood, and so whiter’s cells, to the affected area and encourages pore dilation and release of pus.

 

When to see a doctor

A furuncle usually goes away after around 2 weeks without treatment, but if a fever accompanies the abscess the person need to see a doctor.

Patients with a chronic disease, such as diabeted or cancer, or those who are taking immunosuppressive medications, should consult their doctor if they have a carbuncle.

 

Experts say patients should not try to burst or squeeze furuncles or carbuncles. If the lesion is very painful, if it lasts for more than 2 weeks, or if there is a fever, should see a doctor.

  • Clinical Dermatology
  • Roxburgh’s common skin diseases

Carbuncle

TUI - Tibot Urgency Index

A skin abscess happens when pus collects in hair follicles, skin tissues, or under the skin. A carbuncle is collection of boils is localized, red, a swollen painful suppurating area discharging pus from several points. A group of adjacent hair follicles becomes deeply infected with Staphylococcus aureus. They are much less common now than few decades ago, presumably because of improved levels of hygiene. The lesions are upto 4 inches in diameter, and represent the infection of several follicles.

More of Carbuncle

They affect males more frequently than females, and especially older men with poor health or a weakened immune system. Overcrowded and unhygienic living conditions increase the risk. Diabetes need to be excluded.

Furuncles and carbuncles are similar but with some differences.

A furuncle starts as a red lump & may be tender. The lump rapidly fills with pus, and as it grows it may burst.

Furuncles and carbuncles typically affect the thighs, armpits, buttocks, face, and neck.

Individuals with weakened immune systems, adolescents, and young adults are more susceptible to furuncles than younger children or older adults.

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Dr. Lora Smith

MBBS (Dhaka), DGO (DU) Ex SR. Gynaecologist & Obstetrician

09 606 111 222

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