Carbuncles: How to treat them?

carbuncles treatment

Boils or Furuncles are infections of the pores of the skin and hair follicles. When there are a group of boils at one place it is called a Carbuncles.

What are Carbuncles?

Carbuncles are formed when the boils join under the skin and infect the other layers of the skin as well.

A carbuncle is most likely to occur on a hairy area of the skin, but it can also occur on other areas as well. It’s red, swollen and can be quite painful, this infected bump on your skin can also contain pus (1).

As boils occur due to the infection of hair follicles that are caused by the staphylococcal bacteria, Carbuncles are also caused due to the same bacteria. They can develop anywhere but they are commonly found on the neck, face, and regions that are generally more prone to sweat.

Since it is caused due to bacteria, it can be spread easily from one person to the other. Thus if one member of the family gets it then it’s likely that the other people would encounter the same too (2).

People with diabetes or any other sickness that could weaken your immune system are more likely to encounter a Staph infection. These carbuncles can recur if you happen to be a carrier of this particular bacteria.

The carbuncle usually develops over several days, because it tends to collect pus under the skin over a period of time.

It may start by looking red, swollen and painful.

From that it could move on to become yellowish or whitish in color, this is when the pus starts getting accumulated under the skin (3).

In case the infection is severe then it may cause fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue, in which case you would have to visit a doctor. Boils can also appear inside your mouth and are called intraoral dental sinus, or gumboil, when it appears on your eyelids it’s called a stye.

There are complications that could arise from carbuncles. Unfortunately, the bacteria that causes this infection can get into your bloodstream and affect other parts of your body as well. Carbuncles can be contagious, however, that’s when the infection spreads through the blood it could cause more boils to occur in different parts of your body.

You might encounter Carbuncles from another person who has it, which will be due to spreading of the infection if you share the same kind of clothing or are in close proximity to them.

For diagnosis there are no specific tests, the doctor might just have to do a physical examination or culture of the lesion.


Carbuncles usually last for two weeks and drain out in order for them to heal. In case the carbuncle lasts for two weeks longer then you could visit a doctor and he might prescribe either :

  • An antibiotic soap
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Oral Antibiotics

To decrease the pain, warm compresses are usually helpful. If your carbuncle is severely infected then the doctor will probably have to drain it out (4). But this should not be tried at home.

Keeping a good hygiene and making sure you keep yourself dry and clean at most times can help in the prevention of carbuncles.

What causes Carbuncles and boils?

It is caused by the Staphylococcal bacteria.

Are Carbuncles contagious?

Yes, they are contagious. This is because it is caused by a bacteria called Staphylococcal bacteria, and conditions caused by bacteria spread. It’s thus advised to refrain from coming in close contact with a person who has this condition. It’s even better to stay away from using towels, socks etc.

Can Carbuncles get infected?

Carbuncles themselves are caused due to infections. That being said since it consists of pus, and if the carbuncle bursts and it isn’t cleaned properly after that it could further worsen the infection to a great extent.

What are Carbuncles called in Hindi?

They are called फोड़े-फुंसियों in Hindi

What is a Carbuncle excision?

A carbuncle excision is when the area is deeply infected and is surgically treated, or removed. The carbuncle is cut out and the skin around it is stitched back together.

What are urethral Carbuncles?

These are benign urethral lesions mostly found in postmenopausal women, although the can be present in men as well.

Suffering with a bout of carbuncles? Don’t ignore infections. Download the CureSkin App now by clicking here to get the best treatment. It’s easy, fast and affordable!



Picture of Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.