Carbuncle

A carbuncle is a skin infection that may have pus in it. It is also known as a staph skin infection. A carbuncle is a red, painful, and swollen lump under your skin. The size of a carbuncle may range from the lentil size to the medium mushroom size. When there is more than one carbuncle then it is known as carbunculosis. This skin condition can lead to permanent skin scarring. Generally, a carbuncle appears on the hairy area of the body including the nape of the neck and back. Though, it may appear on the other areas of the body including thighs, armpits, groin, and buttocks. It is a contagious condition. This condition can transmit to other people through sharing the personal things or skin-to-skin contact. So it is important that a person with a carbuncle cover and clean the portion of a carbuncle until it heals and drains. Most of the carbuncles occur due to Staphylococcus aureus bacteria which occupy the throat, nasal passages, and the skin surface. These bacteria can enter your skin through a small scrape, puncture, or hair follicle leading to a skin infection. Sometimes there is a possibility that there is no obvious point of entry.

Carbuncle Symptoms

Check out various signs or symptoms of carbuncle:

-  A carbuncle is a red and swollen lump under your skin that may cause you a pain.

-  The size of a carbuncle can range from the size of a lentil to the size of a mushroom of medium size.

-  You may experience swelling around the areas of a carbuncle.

-  The lump may become pus-filled. Pus is generally noticeable within one day of formation of a carbuncle.

-  Generally, people experience itching before the appearance of a carbuncle.

-  You may experience aches in your body parts.

-  You may feel fatigued or tired.

-  You may get a high temperature or fever due to a carbuncle.

-  You may notice oozing or skin crustiness.

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Causes of Carbuncle

The main reason for the formation of a carbuncle is Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can enter through your hair follicles, a small scrape, or puncture. This bacterium is also known as staph. The entry of this bacterium can cause an infection. You may notice many boils on your skin filled with pus or fluid that have the dead tissue. Generally, most parts of your body catch this infection because Staphylococcus aureus bacteria grow in these parts. These parts include armpits, nose, groin, mouth, and thighs.

This condition can occur when you make a close contact with someone having a carbuncle. There are certain conditions that increase the risk of developing a carbuncle. Diseases associated with kidney and liver increase the risk of catching this skin infection. Shaving and some other activities that can cut the skin increases the chances of developing a carbuncle. Poor hygiene, a weak immune system, diabetes, and dermatitis are some of the other factors that increase your risk of this skin infection.

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How Carbuncle is diagnosed?

It is easy to recognise a carbuncle due to its appearance. Your doctor can easily understand that you have this infection by just looking at your skin. A physical examination will be done by your doctor and you will be asked about the symptoms that you are experiencing. Your doctor may ask you from how long you are experiencing these symptoms. Your doctor may ask if you have ever experienced such symptoms before. You should mention it to your doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms for more than two weeks. If you get carbuncles frequently then it indicates that you may have some other health issues including diabetes. Your doctor may take the sample of your fluid or pus for sending it to a laboratory for analysis. Your doctor may ask you to get the blood or urine tests done in order to assess your overall health.

Prevention

It is important to maintain proper hygiene to reduce the chances of developing a carbuncle. Check out the various tips that will help you to get prevention from a carbuncle:

-  You should wash your hands frequently with anti-bacterial soaps and gels especially after coming from outside, before preparing a meal, after using the washroom, and before starting a meal.

-  You should wash your bed sheets, underwear, towels, and clothes regularly in the hot water.

-  You should take a shower frequently to keep your body free from bacteria.

-  If you have some skin issues or a chronic illness that can break the skin, you should immediately book an appointment with a doctor.

-  You should avoid rubbing your broken skin.

-  You should not squeeze your boils.

-  You should avoid skin-to-skin contact with those people who have carbuncles.

-  You should not use personal items of those people who have carbuncles.

-  You should cover and clean your carbuncles until they heal and drain so that other people do not get this skin infection.

-  You should involve yourself in physical exercises and have a healthy and balanced diet to boost your immune system so that you become less prone to a skin infection.

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Treatment of Carbuncle

A lot of treatment options are available for treating a carbuncle. It is important that you visit a doctor if the mass is close to your spine, eyes, or nose. The infections which are in these areas can lead to serious complications.

Medical care:

Check out the various treatment options that can be used for treating a carbuncle:

1.  Antibiotics: Sometimes, antibiotics are required for treating a carbuncle. They can be taken either by rubbing on the skin or orally. Antibiotics are necessary if an infection has reached to the other parts of the body, you have a weak immune system or in other cases. Antibiotics are not required if your carbuncle has drained completely.

2.  Pain relievers: Your doctor may recommend you to have a pain reliever if required. Though, you can have the over-the-counter medicines to relieve the pain.

3.  Antibacterial soaps: Antibacterial soaps protect you from bacteria. You can use them in your daily life. It reduces the chances of a bacterium entering your body.

4.  Surgeries: A surgery is required if a person has a large or deep carbuncle. It can be drained with the help of a needle or scalpel. You should never try to drain a carbuncle by yourself as it increases the chances of spreading the infection. This can also infect your bloodstream.

Home care:

Check out various home remedies that can be used to reduce the pain and risk of spreading the skin infection:

-  You should clean your skin with an anti-bacterial soap.

-  If you have undergone a surgery then you should change your bandages frequently.

-  You should wash your hands frequently especially if you have touched a carbuncle.

-  You should put a moist, warm, clean cloth on your carbuncles many times in a day. You can leave it for around 15 minutes as it will help to drain the carbuncles faster.

Sometimes, carbuncles heal on their own without any treatment. There is a possibility that first infection can lead to many infections in the future. If this is the case with you, you should see a doctor as it could lead to a serious health problem. Depending on severe cases, most of the carbuncles heal within the time period of 2 - 3 weeks after getting a medical treatment.

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Complications

Check out some of the complications associated with a carbuncle:

-  Bacteria can enter your bloodstream through a carbuncle and further it can travel to other organs of your body. Though this condition is rare it can occur. This condition of spreading infection is known as blood poisoning or sepsis. The biggest problem is that it can cause deep infections within your body including your heart.

-  Sepsis is a serious infection. It can even threaten your life if left untreated or not treated properly. This condition requires immediate medical treatment. The symptoms of sepsis are a spiking fever, chills, a feeling of being quite ill, and rapid heartbeat.

-  Sometimes, the condition of carbuncles can lead to permanent skin scarring.

Conclusion

A carbuncle is a skin infection that may be filled with pus. It is a lump of red colour under your skin. Touching a carbuncle may cause pain. It is a contagious problem and it can transmit by making a skin contact with the affected person or using personal items of the affected person.  The main cause of carbuncle is Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can enter your skin through a small scrape, puncture, or hair follicle. Pus-filled lump, oozing or skin crustiness, itching before the appearance of a carbuncle, aches in your body parts, red and swollen lump and more are some of the signs of carbuncles. You should cover your carbuncles until they drain and heal so that they do not transmit to other people.

You should reach out to the best doctor around you as soon as you discover the symptoms of carbuncles. A doctor can easily recognise the condition of carbuncles through its appearance. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and he or she will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. You may have to get some blood or urine tests done if required in order to assess the overall health. Your doctor may take the sample of your fluid or pus and send it to a laboratory for testing. Many treatment options are available for resolving the problem of carbuncles. If an infection has reached to the other parts of the body or you have a weak immune system then you should have antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work when your carbuncle drains completely. You can have the over-the-counter pain relievers in order to get relief from the pain. Sometimes, carbuncles resolve on their own without taking any medicine. If a person has a large or deep carbuncle then a surgery is the option.

It is not possible to prevent the condition of carbuncles. But you can follow various tips that will help you to reduce the risk of developing carbuncles. You should not make a personal contact with those people who are affected with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. You should also not use their personal items. It is important that you maintain proper hygiene. You should wash your hands frequently with an anti-bacterial soap. Make sure that you wash your bed sheets, underwear, towels, and clothes regularly in the hot water. Many complications are associated with a carbuncle. Sometimes, it can give you permanent scars. The bacterium can enter your bloodstream though it is rare and further it can reach to the parts of the body including the heart. It can lead to the condition of sepsis which is a life-threatening infection. It can create a serious problem if not treated on time. Generally, carbuncles get cured within the time period of 2 - 3 weeks after getting a medical treatment.

If you are looking for the answers to various questions including:

-  What is a carbuncle?

-  What are the signs or symptoms of a carbuncle?

-  What are the causes of a carbuncle?

-  How is a carbuncle diagnosed?

-  How is a carbuncle prevented?

-  How is a carbuncle treated?

-  What are the various complications associated with a carbuncle?

Then you are in the right place. Please refer to the above-mentioned information in order to get answers to all your questions.

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Last updated on : 30-10-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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