Furuncle or Boil Picture - Symptoms, Causes, and treatment of Furuncle or Carbuncle


Description of Furuncle

A skin infection in a hair follicle or gland that produces inflammation and pus. A group of boils that are deeper and more spread are called a carbuncle.

Persons most commonly affected by Furuncle - all age groups and both sexes.

Organ or part of body involved in Furuncle - the skin and its hair follicles and glands.

Symptoms and indications of Furuncle

A painful red swelling or lump, which usually comes up quite quickly and may be fairly large. Also, there is swelling of lymph glands close to the site of the boil and the person may be feverish. The boil usually 'comes to a head' itself and bursts within several days but should be treated by a doctor before this occurs.

Treatment of Furuncle

Usually the boil needs to be surgically lanced and the pus drained out. As this is performed by a doctor under clean, aseptic conditions, there is much less likelihood of the pus (which is infective) causing another boil to occur in an adjacent area of skin. Also the boil heals more quickly than if left untreated. Antibiotics may be prescribed to fight the infection that caused the boil.

Causes and risk factors of Furuncle

A boil is caused by a bacterial infection at the base of a hair and the organism involved is usually staphylococcus aureus, or the organism may enter through a small cut or nick in the skin. Occasionally, a boil may cause a more widespread infection, especially in people who are somewhat 'run-down' or with lowered immunity because of illness. Frequent recurrence of boils usually requires further medical investigation to ensure that the patient is not suffering from diabetes mellitus.


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