Carbuncle - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Carbuncle is a cluster of boils (a bacterial infection that occurs under your skin at the hair follicle) that occur under the skin having multiple heads. They can be tender and painful. If left untreated, it can cause infection and leave a scar as well. It can also be called staph infection. 


Carbuncle usually occurs at the hair containing areas of the body like the back or nape. However, it can occur at any place like the inner thighs, groin, buttocks, and armpits. In an active state, it can be contagious. It can spread from an infected person to a healthy person upon touch or by sharing personal items. 


Mostly they are caused by Staphylococcus aureus, which infects the throat, skin surface, and nasal passages. Therefore, staph bacteria can enter the skin through cuts, abrasions, small scrapes, and punctures. 


Symptoms 


The most common symptom of a carbuncle is a red, pus-filled boil that causes the itch. It can occur as a lump under your skin. The size of a carbuncle can range from the size of a lentil to that of a mushroom, and it can be painful. Other symptoms it may cause can be;


  • fatigue

  • fever and chills

  • itching before the lump appears

  • bodily aches

  • skin crustiness or oozing


Causes 


Carbuncles usually are caused by Staphylococcus aureus, which infects the throat, skin surface, and nasal passages. Therefore, staph bacteria can enter the skin through cuts, abrasions, small scrapes, and punctures. 


Staphylococci:

Staphylococci are a group of bacteria that are present almost everywhere. They are present on our skin and different surfaces and are a big source of hospital-acquired infections. 


They cause a variety of diseases and are classified mainly into three types:


  • Staphylococcus aureus

  • Staphylococcus epidermidis

  • Staphylococcus saprophyticus


These bacteria cause different types of diseases. Staphylococcus Aureus is a big source of hospital-acquired pneumonia, frequently encountered as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), and different skin infections like cellulitis, impetigo, abscesses, carbuncle, and wound infections. Also, it causes toxic shock syndrome by producing a toxin.



A carbuncle can also occur in healthy people who live in close areas like hostels or college dorms and share things like bed linens, towels, or clothing. Moreover, it can also occur due to abrasion or irritation due to harsh clothes, insect bites, or areas where you sweat a lot, like underarms. 


Risk factors 


A carbuncle can occur if you remain in close contact with a person having it. Following factors can increase the risk for it as well;


  • poor hygiene

  • diabetes

  • having a weak immune system or if you have infections that suppress your immune system or taking drugs that are immunosuppressants like corticosteroids

  • dermatitis

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • shaving 

  • activities that break the skin

  • sweat heavily and do not maintain hygiene

  • older age 

  • obesity 



Complications


Carbuncle may need antibiotics for treatment. If left untreated, it can lead to complications like;


Sepsis 

Infections of the other parts like bones, kidneys, lungs, joints, central nervous system, blood, and heart. 


Infection due to carbuncle can also cause;

  • fever

  • chills

  • sweating

  • fast heart rate 

  • dizziness


Treatment 


To treat carbuncle, the healthcare provider will prescribe the following agents;


  • Oral and topical antibiotics 

  • Over the counter pain reliever

  • Antibacterial soaps for daily use 

  • Surgery to drain the deep and large abscess


Conclusion 


Carbuncle is a cluster of boils that occur under the skin having multiple heads. They can be tender and painful. If left untreated, it can cause infection and leave a scar as well. It can also be called staph infection. 


Doctors For Carbuncle

Dr. Shaiqa Ali

Dermatologist

18 Years

Dr. Saira Younas

Dermatologist

17 Years

Dr. Najam jamshaid

Dermatologist

15 Years

Dr. Sana Younas

Dermatologist

10 Years

Dr. Ishrat Shah

Dermatologist

9 Years

Dr. Azam Samdani

Dermatologist

40 Years

Dr. M. Athar Khan

Dermatologist

37 Years

Dr. M.Z. Bari

Dermatologist

36 Years

Dr. Misbah Ur Rehman

Dermatologist

35 Years

Doctors for Carbuncle in Different Cities