Overview

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.

July 13, 2016
References
  1. Baddour LM. Skin abscesses, furuncles and carbuncles. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 15, 2016.
  2. Boils and carbuncles. National Health Service. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/boils/pages/introduction.aspx. Accessed June 15, 2016.
  3. Habif TP. Bacterial infections. In: Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com Accessed June 20, 2016.
  4. Adams JG. Skin and soft tissue infections. In: Emergency Medicine: Clinical Essentials. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 17, 2016.
  5. Kliegman RM, et al. Cutaneous bacterial infections. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 16, 2016.