Doctors usually can diagnose boils and carbuncles simply by looking at them. But if you have recurring infections or an infection that hasn't responded to standard treatment, your doctor might suggest sending a sample of the pus to a lab for testing.
Many varieties of the bacteria that cause boils have become resistant to certain types of antibiotics, so this test can help determine what type of antibiotic would work best in your particular situation.
Jul. 17, 2013
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed April 23, 2013.
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- Baddour LM. Skin abscesses, furuncles and carbuncles. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 23, 2013.
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- Steckelberg JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 2. 2013.
- Rohren CH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 8, 2013.