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मंगलवार, 18 जनवरी 2011


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 lance or squeeze it — that may spread the infection. Call your doctor if a boil or carbuncle is extremely painful, lasts longer than two weeks or occurs with a fever.


A boil usually appears suddenly as a painful pink or red bump that's generally between 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch (1 to 2 centimeters) in diameter. The surrounding skin also may be red and swollen.
Within a few days, the bump fills with pus. It grows larger and more painful, sometimes reaching golf ball size before it develops a yellow-white tip that finally ruptures and drains. Boils generally clear completely in a couple weeks, though it can take a month or more. Small boils usually heal without scarring, but a large boil may leave a scar.
Boils can occur anywhere on your skin, but appear mainly on your face, neck, armpits, buttocks or thighs — hair-bearing areas where you're most likely to sweat or experience friction.
Boils can resemble the inflamed, painful lumps caused by cystic acne. But compared with acne cysts, boils are usually redder or more inflamed around the border and more painful.
A carbuncle is a cluster of boils that often occurs on the back of the neck, shoulders or thighs. Carbuncles cause a deeper and more severe infection than single boils do. Also, carbuncles both develop and heal more slowly and are likely to leave a scar. Carbuncles sometimes occur with tiredness, a fever and chills.
When to see a doctor
You usually can care for a single, small boil yourself. But see your doctor if a boil occurs on your face or spine or if you have:
  • A boil that worsens rapidly or is extremely painful
  • Boils that are very large, haven't healed in two weeks or are accompanied by a fever
  • Frequent boils
  • Red lines radiating from a boil, which may be a sign that the infection has entered your lymphatic system
  • A condition that suppresses your immune system, such as an organ transplant or HIV infection
Children and older adults who develop one or more boils also should receive medical care.
Boils usually form when one or more hair follicles — the tube-shaped shafts from which hair grows — become infected with staph bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus). These bacteria, which normally inhabit your skin and sometimes your throat and nasal passages, are responsible for a number of serious diseases, including pneumonia, meningitis, urinary tract infections and endocarditis — an infection of the lining of your heart. They're also a major cause of hospital-acquired infections and food-borne illnesses.
Staph bacteria that cause boils generally enter through a cut, scratch or other break in your skin. As soon as this occurs, specialized white blood cells called neutrophils rush to the site to fight the infection. This leads to inflammation and eventually to the formation of pus — a mixture of old white blood cells, bacteria and dead skin cells.

Risk factors

Although anyone — including otherwise healthy people — can develop boils or carbuncles, the following factors can increase your risk:
  • Close contact with a person who has a staph infection. You're more likely to develop an infection if you live with someone who has a boil or carbuncle.
  • Diabetes. This disease can make it more difficult for your body to fight infection, including bacterial infections of your skin.
  • Other skin conditions. Because they damage your skin's protective barrier, skin problems, such as acne and dermatitis, make you more susceptible to boils and carbuncles.
  • Compromised immunity. If your immune system is compromised for any reason, you're more susceptible to boils and carbuncles.


Blood poisoning. In some cases, bacteria from a boil can enter your bloodstream and travel to other parts of your body. The spreading infection, commonly known as blood poisoning (sepsis), can rapidly become life-threatening.
Initially, blood poisoning causes signs and symptoms such as chills, a spiking fever, a rapid heart rate and a feeling of being extremely ill. But the condition can quickly progress to shock, which is marked by falling blood pressure and body temperature, confusion, clotting abnormalities and bleeding into the skin. Blood poisoning is a medical emergency — untreated, it can be fatal.
MRSA. Another potentially serious problem is the emergence of a drug-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is highly contagious and spreads rapidly in crowded or unhygienic situations, or where athletic equipment or towels are shared. Although it responds well to several other antibiotics, MRSA is resistant to penicillin, and can be very difficult to treat.

Tests and diagnosis

Doctors usually diagnose boils and carbuncles by considering signs and symptoms and medical history and looking at the distinctive sores.
If you have recurring infections, infections that don't respond to standard treatment or have a weakened immune system, your doctor may culture the drainage. During this test, your doctor uses a sterile swab to gently remove a small bit of pus or drainage from the boil or carbuncle. The sample is then cultured in a laboratory for the presence of bacteria.


Although it's not always possible to prevent boils, especially if you have a compromised immune system, the following measures may help you avoid staph infections:
  • Wash your hands regularly with mild soap. Or, use an alcohol-based hand rub often. Careful hand washing is your best defense against germs.
  • Thoroughly clean even small cuts and scrapes. Wash the wound well with soap and water and apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment.
  • Keep wounds covered. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal.
  • Keep personal items personal. Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. Staph infections can spread via objects as well as from person to person. If you have a cut or sore, wash your towels and linens using detergent and hot water with added bleach and dry them in a hot dryer.
Vd.Sushant S Patil
Vidyanagar, bhusawal road,
Tal-yawal dist-jalgaon

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