Boils and Carbuncles





Boils and carbuncles are infections which enter the skin through the base of a hair.

In a boil, the infection is restricted to the area surrounding the initial infection.

A carbuncle is an extension of the infection to surrounding hairs with a grouping together of several boils into a more inflamed and painful swelling with more than one head of pus forming.

A boil is due to a staphylococcal which in the first few days produces a redness and minor swelling of the skin, and discomfort. In the next two to three days the body’s immune system attacks the germs with the formation of pus which causes increased swelling and pain. Eventually the boil comes to a head, pus is discharged and the condition gradually settles. A well developed boil or a large carbuncle can be associated with a fever and a general feeling of not being well.

Looking after your general health and your hygiene particularly in between the thighs, the groin and under the arms as sweating and the rubbing of clothing against the skin, particularly in exercise can lead to the breaking down of skin as a defensive barrier.

In the early stages local treatment and antibiotics may prevent the boil from developing. Antibiotics are necessary once the acute attack has developed beyond the early stages of minor pain and swelling. With that treatment, most boils and carbuncles will resolve, the abscess will burst and discharge and healing will take place. In the case of a deep seated boil, such as in the neck, it may be necessary to incise the skin to relieve the pressure and hasten the cure. In most cases though surgical incision is not necessary.

Complications include blood borne spread of the germs to the kidney and bone. Any infection of the upper lip or cheek, and particularly a boil or carbuncle, can very occasionally spread to the brain with life threatening consequences. Your doctor should be consulted for any pimple or blind boil in this area which is becoming more painful and swollen.

Recurrent infections, such as boils, may indicate an underlying disease or a misfunction of your immune system. If you have recurrent infections see your doctor. Boils and carbuncles can also be associated with diabetes, particularly in those over 40 years of age and this is another reason for obtaining medical advice, especially in the case of recurring attacks.

- Anaemia - Anaesthetics and Anaesthesia
- Anxiety - Arthritis
- Asthma - Backache
- Blood Pressure including Hypertension - Boils and Carbuncles
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy - Chronic Bronchitis
- Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex) - Colostomy and Ileostomy
- Constipation - Cramp
- Cystitis - Diabetes
- Diarrhoea - Earache
- Footcare - Gallstones
- Glandular Fever (Infectious Mononucleosis) - Gout
- Haemophilia - Headache
- Hepatitis - Hip Replacement
- Indigestion - Influenza
- Jaundice - Kidney Stones
- Legionnaires Disease - Low Blood Pressure
- Migraine - Nose Bleeding
- Osteoporosis - Peptic Ulcers (Gastric or Duodenal)
- Piles (Haemorrhoids) - Pneumonia
- Poor Circulation (incl Buergers & Raynauds Disease) - Prostate Problems
- Rheumatic Fever - Shingles
- Sleeping Difficulties (Insomnia) - Slipped Disc
- Spinal Injuries - The Common Cold
- The Overactive Thyroid Gland - The Underactive Thyroid Gland
- Thrombophlebitis of Superficial Veins - Thrombosis in Veins
- Tonsillitis and Complications


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