We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Carbuncle?

By H. Lo
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A carbuncle, a type of skin infection, is a mass under the skin formed by a group of boils. A boil is a painful lump filled with pus that grows until it ruptures and the pus drains. Usually, a carbuncle, which is contagious, occurs when a bacterial infection inflames hair follicles. When a person has more than one of these, he has carbunculosis.

The bacterial infection that usually causes boils is caused by the staph bacteria, also known as staphylococcus aureus. The bacteria make its way into the affected person through a cut or scratch and infect the hair follicle, which then causes the skin infection to develop. As the body fights the infection, inflammation occurs, and the result is the formation of pus, which is a combination of bacteria, dead skin cells and white blood cells. People who are most susceptible to a staph infection are those with certain conditions such as dermatitis and diabetes.

In comparison to a single boil, a carbuncle is a deeper, more severe condition that develops and heals at a slower rate. The main symptom of this condition is the mass itself, which can vary in size from being as small as a pea to as large as a golf ball. Pus oozes out of the center, which might be yellow or white in color. In addition, the mass might hurt and be irritated. Other symptoms that can accompany the mass are chills, fatigue and fever, as well as itchy skin prior to the development of the mass.

To heal, a carbuncle needs to drain; it will usually do this on its own within two weeks. During this time, a warm cloth will help drain the mass, as well as relieve pain. Other than this, an affected person most likely will not need to seek treatment unless there are certain circumstances. A mass that does not heal within two weeks, for example, might require professional attention. Other circumstances include if the mass goes away, but returns often, or if it is on the middle of a person’s face, or on his spine.

To treat the mass, a doctor can drain it, and he might also prescribe antibiotics. Draining the mass will require the doctor to make a small incision, and in general, antibiotics might be useful for a mass that keeps returning. While a doctor might be qualified to make an incision into a carbuncle, an affected person should not try to do this at home because he risks spreading the infection.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.