Boils and carbuncles are painful, pus-filled bumps that form under your skin when bacteria infect and inflame one or more of your hair follicles.
Boils (furuncles) usually start as red, tender lumps. The lumps quickly fill with pus, growing larger and more painful until they rupture and drain. A carbuncle is a cluster of boils that form a connected area of infection under the skin.
You can usually care for a single boil at home, but don't attempt to prick or squeeze it — that may spread the infection. Call your doctor if a boil or carbuncle is extremely painful, lasts longer than two weeks or occurs with a fever.
July 17, 2013
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- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed April 23, 2013.
- Baddour LM. Skin abscesses, furuncles and carbuncles. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 23, 2013.
- Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191205553-4/0/1481/0.html#. Accessed April 23, 2013.
- Mandell GL, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..X0001-X--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed April 24, 2013.
- Steckelberg JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 2. 2013.
- Rohren CH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 8, 2013.
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