Boils, aka furuncles, are very common puss filled red bumps that form on your skin. These painful, tender, swollen skin conditions are often caused by a bacterial infected hair follicle. And it’s damage to a hair follicle that allow germs causing infection to gain entry under your skin.
Generally, boils appear suddenly and as they fill with pus their swelling causes you increasing pain and tenderness. Eventually, your boil caused red bump develops a white tip for draining. In some cases, boil’s pus filled bumps may swell fairly large before they rupture.
Should a cluster of hair follicles become infected, then this skin condition is referred to as a carbuncle.
Boils and carbuncles are usually caused by a staph infection, which is the same bacterium that causes infectious diseases like pneumonia, meningitis, urinary tract infections and endocarditis. Yet, other bacteria or fungi that naturally dwell on your skin can be the red, swollen bump instigator.
Boils and carbuncle tender bumps can swell up anywhere, but typically these pus filled skin infections appear in high sweat or friction areas. Common locations are your face, neck, shoulder, armpits, buttocks or thighs.
Boils look similar to the tender lumps caused by cystic acne. But a boil is usually redder and more painful.
If the infection causing your boil or carbuncle spreads, then you may experience symptoms of:
Rarely, boils or carbuncles cause some very serious complications, like:
All of which require emergency health care treatment.
Risk of developing a boil or carbuncle can increase if you:
- have diabetes
- compromised immune system for any reason
- live with someone who has a boil or carbuncle
- are in close contact with another who has a staph infection
- other skin conditions because of protective skin barrier damage
For quicker pain and tenderness relief treatment, you can apply warm salt water compresses to your tender, red, swollen bump several times a day. This draws your carbuncle or boil pus to a head for draining. Then apply OTC antibiotic ointment for fast bacterial skin infection healing.
Some herbal relief treatments that you can apply topically to fight your skin infection are:
- tea tree oil
Relief treatment may require a trip to your health care provider if your boil or carbuncle:
- causes a fever
- recur frequently
- is on your spine
- lasts a long time
- extremely painful
- pus filled lesion is deep or large
- you have symptoms indicating your infection has spread
A large boil or carbuncle might need draining, but this is best done by a professional, aka your doctor.