CARBUNCLE or BOIL;causes, signs&symptoms and its management

CARBUNCLE(BOIL)

DEFINITION

carbuncle is a cluster of boils that have multiple pus (a mixture of old and white blood cell). They  are tender and painful, and cause a severe infection which could leave a scar. A carbuncle is also called a staph skin infection because it is caused by staphylococcus aureus.

It forms when one or more follicles got infected which can occur in any part of the body but can mostly be seen around the armpit, back of the neck, groins, buttocks, thigh and others regions when there is friction between two bodies.

A carbuncle can also be defined as a dome-shaped red swollen cluster of boils that usually develops over a few days to a size of 3-10cm and will leak pus from a number of points.

It can be infectious if standard precautions are not taken into considerations to manage this patient.

 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • a red, irritated lump under the skin .
  • Gradually increase in size the size of a lentil to a mushroom.
  • Painful and tender.
  • Pus filled mass which rupture on later stage to form abscess.
  • Itching before the part becomes raised.
  • Body aches.
  • Fever and chills
  • skin crustiness or oozing
  • Fatigue

 

CAUSES/RISK FACTORS

  • Shavings and other activities that alter the continuity of the skin.
  • Poor personal and environmental hygiene.
  • Skin infection also known as dermatitis.
  • HIV & AIDS and other diseases that alter the immune system.
  • Liver and Kidney Disease.
  • Chronic skin conditions, which damage the skin’s protective barrier.
  • Obesity.

FACTS ABOUT CARBUNCLES

  • It is infectious (it can be transmitted from one person to another).
  • The causative organism is usually staphylococcus aeurus.
  • If untreated, it can metastasize to other parts of the body and get complicated.
  • It is mostly seen among young children, aged, people with chronic diseases or low immune system.
  • It is commonly found in a frictional / moistly regions of the body.

 

EPIDEMIOLOGY OF NIGERIA

More than 100,000 cases have been reported yearly.

PROGNOSIS

It usually resolves on its own within days to weeks. It is actually wise it should be medically treated to avoid complications.

INVESTIGATION

Not necessary required. At times, the pus can be taken to the lab for analysis.

MANAGEMENT

  1. HOME MANAGEMENT

The cardinal rule is to avoid squeezing or irritating a carbuncle, which increases the risk of complications and severe scarring.

To soothe your pain, speed healing, and lower the risk of spreading the infection:

  • Warm compresses: Place a clean, warm, moist cloth on your carbuncle several times a day. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes several times in a day. This will help it drain faster.
  • Make use of anti microbial soap for shower.
  • Maintaining personal hygiene.
  • Thorough washing of hands before and after touching the boil.
  • Washing the carbuncle and covering the area with a sterile bandage so as to promote drainage and healing and help prevent  spreading the infection to other parts of the body.

 

  1. MEDICAL MANAGEMENT

This involves the treatment of patient by a Dermatologist or Nurse Dermatology consultant who may prescribe:

  1. Medications like Antibiotics, Anti Pyrexia and analgesics with vitamin supplements.
  2. SURGERY: This is also known as Incision and drainage. Here the boil is drained with a scalpel or needle.

 

PREVENTION

To prevent boils and carbuncles spreading, take simple precautions such as:

  • Wash your skin regularly using a mild antibacterial soap.
  • Carefully clean any cuts or wounds.
  • Cover cuts, wounds and grazes with a sterile bandage until they heal.
  • Eating Healthy nutrition to boost your immune system.
  • Wash the hands after touching affected areas.
  • Using a separate face cloth and towel.
  • Washing underwear, bed linen and towels at a high temperature.
  • Covering wounds with a dressing until they heal.
  • Carefully disposing of used dressings.
  • Eating balanced diet.

 

COMPLICATIONS

  • Sepsis
  • Cellulitis
  • Scar tissue formation.

 

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