A carbuncle is a cluster of boils that often occurs on the back of the neck, shoulders or thighs, especially in older men. Carbuncles cause a deeper and more severe infection than single boils do. In addition, carbuncles develop and heal more slowly and are likely to leave a scar. Carbuncles sometimes occur with a fever.
Boils and carbuncles often 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.
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:
Thoroughly clean even small cuts and scrapes. Wash well with soap and water and apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment.
Avoid constricting clothing. Tight clothes may be stylish, but make sure they don't chafe your skin.
Apply a warm washcloth or compress to the affected area. Do this for at least 10 minutes every few hours. If possible, first soak the cloth or compress in warm salt water. This helps the boil rupture and drain more quickly. To make salt water, add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 quart of boiling water and cool to a comfortable temperature.
Gently wash the boil two to three times a day. After washing, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic and cover with a bandage.
Never squeeze or lance a boil. This can spread the infection.
Wash your hands thoroughly after treating a boil. Also, launder clothing, towels or compresses that have touched the infected area.
you may need to be tested for diabetes or other immunosupressing conditions if this is a recurring issue. sometimes a course of oral antibiotics can help quite a bit to get rid of an infection and even prevent spreading or some recurring infections.
btw a carbuncle is simply a collection of boils in an area.
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