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Here are carbuncle pictures with treatment information, causes and symptoms.

Boils and carbuncles are painful bumps that are filled with pus and which develop over the skin. They are caused by bacterial infection in one or more of the hair follicles.

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Boils is a condition wherein red tender lumps over the skin come up due to infection of hair follicle. They subsequently fill with pus and grow. They remain painful till it gets ruptured and the pus is drained out.

Carbuncle is a formation of a cluster of boils that are formed under an area of skin due to infection of hair follicles. If it is a single boil, you may take care of it at home. At any time one should not try to squeeze or prick it, because it may spread the infection. If the boil or carbuncle lasts for more than two weeks or causes extreme pain or/and if it occurs along with fever, then it should be referred to a doctor.

Carbuncle symptoms


Boils can come up anywhere over the body skin. However, it mostly occurs in the armpits, buttocks, thighs, face and neck as well as other hair bearing, sweat areas or on areas where the friction is experienced.

Symptoms of boils:

  • Painful red bump appears over the skin and is usually the size of a peanut.
  • Red swollen skin over the area of bump
  • Within a few days, the size of the bump gets increased when it is filled with pus.
  • A white-yellowish tip comes up, which gets ruptured and ultimately allows the pus to drain out.
  • Pain fades off once the pus is out. Large sized boils always leave a scar mark over the skin.


It is a cluster of boils, which occurs normally on the thighs, shoulders, armpits and neck. In comparison to boils, carbuncles always go deeper and cause severe infection. Carbuncles are always slow in developing and in healing. It always leaves a scar mark over the skin.

Symptoms of carbuncles:

  • Feelings of chills
  • Fever
  • Fever with chills
  • A general feeling of sickness or malaise

When to consult a doctor

Under the following circumstances one should see the doctor:

  • If the boil is very painful and quickly worsens
  • When boils appear on face or on spine
  • When boils recur
  • If the boil is larger along with the experience of fever
  • If the boil occurs immediately after recovery from severe sickness
  • If the functioning of the immune system is reduced or impaired. This may be the case with individuals who have had organ transplant, who use corticosteroids or persons with HIV infection
  • If the subject with boil is a child or an aged person

Causes of Carbuncle

Boils occur when one or more hair follicle shafts infected with staph bacteria. Staph bacteria inhabit in the human skin.

Staph bacteria enter the skin, whenever there is a break in skin, injury by a cut or a scratch.  Whenever the infection happens, the neutrophils or white blood cells rush to the spot for fighting the infection. As a result the inflammation and the formation of pus take place. Pus is a mixture of old white blood cells, bacteria and the dead cells of the skin.

Following are the risk factors for getting boils or carbuncles:

  • Diabetes patients have lesser strength to fight bacterial infections.
  • Close contact with subjects infected by staph bacteria.
  • The skin conditions of people affected by acne and eczema are more vulnerable for bacterial attack
  • Persons with weak immune system are more susceptible to staph bacterial attacks.

Following are the possible complications that the boils and carbuncles can make:

  • Blood poisoning: When the bacteria from the boil or carbuncle enter the blood stream, then it is called as blood poisoning. This can cause the infections deep inside the body, including the heart and bones, creating an alarming situation.  Rapid breathing, high fever, increased heart beat, are the signs of serious conditions, which can lead to septic shock and low blood pressure.
  • MRSA: It is another serious condition, wherein a situation of drug resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus is generated.  About half of the staph bacteria are found as resistant to many antibiotics such as methicillin and other drugs which can spread to the general public also.

Diagnosis of Carbuncle

Generally doctors diagnose looking at the symptoms, the patient’s medical history and the pattern of the sore condition.

For the repeated cases of boil and carbuncle along with malfunctioning of immune system, the doctor may send a swab of pus for culturing in a laboratory to check up the presence of bacteria.

Carbuncle treatment

  • For larger boils or carbuncles, a small incision is made to drain out the pus.
  • For severe and recurring cases and for infections caused by MRSA, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics
  • For centuries, the Australian tea tree extraction is used as an antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal agent.
  • Apply warm wash cloth over the affected area for 10 minutes, every few hours. It will help the boil to rupture and drain out quickly.

Carbuncle pictures

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