Carbuncle - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Carbuncle is a cluster of boils (a bacterial infection that occurs under your skin at the hair follicle) that occur under the skin having multiple heads. They can be tender and painful. If left untreated, it can cause infection and leave a scar as well. It can also be called staph infection. 


Carbuncle usually occurs at the hair containing areas of the body like the back or nape. However, it can occur at any place like the inner thighs, groin, buttocks, and armpits. In an active state, it can be contagious. It can spread from an infected person to a healthy person upon touch or by sharing personal items. 


Mostly they are caused by Staphylococcus aureus, which infects the throat, skin surface, and nasal passages. Therefore, staph bacteria can enter the skin through cuts, abrasions, small scrapes, and punctures. 


Symptoms 


The most common symptom of a carbuncle is a red, pus-filled boil that causes the itch. It can occur as a lump under your skin. The size of a carbuncle can range from the size of a lentil to that of a mushroom, and it can be painful. Other symptoms it may cause can be;


  • fatigue

  • fever and chills

  • itching before the lump appears

  • bodily aches

  • skin crustiness or oozing


Causes 


Carbuncles usually are caused by Staphylococcus aureus, which infects the throat, skin surface, and nasal passages. Therefore, staph bacteria can enter the skin through cuts, abrasions, small scrapes, and punctures. 


Staphylococci:

Staphylococci are a group of bacteria that are present almost everywhere. They are present on our skin and different surfaces and are a big source of hospital-acquired infections. 


They cause a variety of diseases and are classified mainly into three types:


  • Staphylococcus aureus

  • Staphylococcus epidermidis

  • Staphylococcus saprophyticus


These bacteria cause different types of diseases. Staphylococcus Aureus is a big source of hospital-acquired pneumonia, frequently encountered as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), and different skin infections like cellulitis, impetigo, abscesses, carbuncle, and wound infections. Also, it causes toxic shock syndrome by producing a toxin.



A carbuncle can also occur in healthy people who live in close areas like hostels or college dorms and share things like bed linens, towels, or clothing. Moreover, it can also occur due to abrasion or irritation due to harsh clothes, insect bites, or areas where you sweat a lot, like underarms. 


Risk factors 


A carbuncle can occur if you remain in close contact with a person having it. Following factors can increase the risk for it as well;


  • poor hygiene

  • diabetes

  • having a weak immune system or if you have infections that suppress your immune system or taking drugs that are immunosuppressants like corticosteroids

  • dermatitis

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • shaving 

  • activities that break the skin

  • sweat heavily and do not maintain hygiene

  • older age 

  • obesity 



Complications


Carbuncle may need antibiotics for treatment. If left untreated, it can lead to complications like;


Sepsis 

Infections of the other parts like bones, kidneys, lungs, joints, central nervous system, blood, and heart. 


Infection due to carbuncle can also cause;

  • fever

  • chills

  • sweating

  • fast heart rate 

  • dizziness


Treatment 


To treat carbuncle, the healthcare provider will prescribe the following agents;


  • Oral and topical antibiotics 

  • Over the counter pain reliever

  • Antibacterial soaps for daily use 

  • Surgery to drain the deep and large abscess


Conclusion 


Carbuncle is a cluster of boils that occur under the skin having multiple heads. They can be tender and painful. If left untreated, it can cause infection and leave a scar as well. It can also be called staph infection. 


Dr. Amina Afzal - Dermatologist in Lahore

Dr. Amina Afzal

Dermatologist

MBBS, MD, MCPS

CO2 Fractional Laser, Cryotherapy And Electrocautery, Electrocauteri, Eye Brow Lift

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
15 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
15 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
Dr. Asma Arshad - Dermatologist in Lahore

Dr. Asma Arshad

Dermatologist

MBBS, RMP

Carbon Peel, Cryotherapy And Electrocautery, Dermatitis, Facial Contouring By Fillers

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
0 Years Experiance
% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
0 Years Experiance
% Satisfied Patients
Dr. Asim Ali Haider - Dermatologist in Lahore

Dr. Asim Ali Haider

Dermatologist

MBBS, Diploma in Dermatology

Carbon Peel, Cryotherapy And Electrocautery, Eye Brow Lift, Hyperhidrosis

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
29 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
29 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
Dr. Ali Hasnain - Dermatologist in Lahore

Dr. Ali Hasnain

Dermatologist

MBBS, MCPS (Dermatology)

CO2 Fractional Laser, Cryotherapy And Electrocautery, Eye Brow Lift, Hyperhidrosis

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
7 Years Experiance
98% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
7 Years Experiance
98% Satisfied Patients
Dr. Aleena Irteza Khan - Dermatologist in Lahore

Dr. Aleena Irteza Khan

Dermatologist

MBBS, MD, MCPS (Dermatology)

Carbon Peel, Cryotherapy And Electrocautery, Dermatitis, Facial Contouring By Fillers

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
11 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
11 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
Dr. Aisha Malik - Dermatologist in Lahore

Dr. Aisha Malik

Dermatologist

MBBS, FCPS (Dermatology), MCPS (Dermatology)

Carbon Peel, Dermatitis, Facial Contouring By Fillers

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
16 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
16 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
Dr. Amna Rasul - Dermatologist in Lahore

Dr. Amna Rasul

Dermatologist

MBBS, FCPS (Dermatology)

Laser Treatment, Melasma Treatment, Microneedling, Phototherapy

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
9 Years Experiance
98% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
9 Years Experiance
98% Satisfied Patients
Dr. Asma Shakir - Dermatologist in Lahore

Dr. Asma Shakir

Dermatologist

MBBS, FCPS (Dermatology)

Acne Scar Treatment, Cryotherapy And Electrocautery, Dermatitis, Facial Contouring By Fillers

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
11 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
11 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
Dr. Benish Safdar - Dermatologist in Lahore

Dr. Benish Safdar

Dermatologist

MBBS, FCPS

Microneedling, Pigmentation And Skin Lightening, PRP And Endoret For Hairs, Rashes

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
11 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
11 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
Dr. Huda Ashraf Bukhari - Dermatologist in Karachi

Dr. Huda Ashraf Bukhari

Dermatologist

MBBS, FCPS

Cryotherapy And Electrocautery, Eye Brow Lift, Facial Contouring By Fillers, Laser Treatment

Under 15 Mins Wait Time
11 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients
View Profile
Under 15 Mins Wait Time
11 Years Experiance
99% Satisfied Patients

Doctors for Carbuncle in Different Cities