What are Carbuncles?
Carbuncles refers to a set of interconnected boils that form beneath the skin. These blisters normally form on the hairy portions of the body like the chest, thigh, armpits, hands and legs. Carbuncle infection is highly contagious. It can quickly spread to other parts of the body and can also be transmitted to another individual through direct skin contact. Sharing of clothes and utensils of an affected individual without properly washing them can also result in transmission of the infection.
The characteristics of the blisters seen in Carbuncles are that they are normally red bumps which are extremely painful and are of the size of a pea. The skin around the bump is erythematous and there is visible swelling.
As the condition progresses, pus fills in the blister its size significantly increases. The tip of the Carbuncle turns yellow in color due to the pus filled in it. Once the carbuncle completely matures the tip of the bump bursts and all the pus drains out.
A single carbuncle can be easily treated and is not a cause of worry; however if the pus continues to grow in size, does not rupture, is seen especially on the face, and is causing severe pain then a consultation with a physician is recommended. Additionally, if the individual develops high grade fever and the Carbuncle does not heal even after a month then also medical attention needs to be sought for treatment.
How Do Carbuncle Form?
Carbuncle is a bacterial infection and is caused due to the bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus. This bacterium is always present on the skin surface and the nasal passages.
However, they do not cause any infection but if they enter the skin through a cut or a bruise it results in the bacterial infection with development of a carbuncle at the point of entry of the bacteria on the skin surface.
The pus that is filled within a carbuncle is made up of dead white blood cells, skin cells, and bacteria. Drainage of this pus is essential before healing occurs of the Carbuncle. Once healed, in most cases a carbuncle leaves a scar behind unlike in cases of boils which does not leave any scar behind after healing.