Diseases & Conditions


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Carbuncle


A cluster of boils (pus-filled inflamed hair roots) infected with bacteria, commonly found on the back of the neck and the buttocks. Cause Carbuncles are usually caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. Symptoms Carbuncles usually begin as single boils that spread, but they are less common than single boils. They primarily affect patients with lowered resistance to infection. Treatment Carbuncles are treated with oral and topical antibiotics and hot compresses or plasters. These may relieve the pain by causing the pus-filled heads to burst; if this occurs, the carbuncle should be covered with a dressing until it has healed completely. Once the inflammation has been controlled, the lesion may be cut and drained. The cavity may then need packing with a petroleum jelly or iodoform dressing. In some cases, draining is not necessary if a 10day course of antibiotics and topical antibiotics cures the infection. Prevention Recurrent carbuncles usually mean that patients are constantly reinfecting themselves. Regular washing with antibacterial soap (especially around rashes, irritations, shaving, or areas of heavy sweating) can help get rid of the infection. Also, hands and bedding should be washed often.