Furunculosis - Pictures, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
What is Furunculosis?
Furunculosis is a skin condition characterized by the formation of lump filled with pus. It is a deep infection involving hair follicle that results to painful lumps while it is continuously being filled with bacteria and dead tissue. Furunculosis is a contagious skin condition that usually develops in moist or sweaty areas of the body and parts of the body where friction is present.
Hair follicle functions by protecting the body from any element and helps in regulation of body heat. It is part of the skin organ primarily responsible for hair production in the body. The structure of hair follicle is somewhat similar to a stocking and with a projection found at the base which is called papilla that contains tiny blood vessels and capillaries with the capillary responsible for feeding the cell found in the bulb surrounding the follicle.
Furunculosis can be recurrent or non-recurrent while it is an isolation of bacterial infection in a single hair follicle. The onset of several head of furuncle that formed a cluster and larger lump is called a carbuncle. Both furuncle and carbuncle are skin condition that resulted from infection of the hair follicle. Furunculosis can occur to anyone at any age and at any time while the course may vary where an individual can only have one attack or several attacks within a period of time. Recurrent furunculosis is rather discomforting as the attack may occur continuously in intervals although without fixed pattern of time and duration.
The feature of furuncle is similar to a pimple that is somewhat overgrown. It is round in shape with swelling and reddish discoloration surrounding the pustule at the center which is whitish or yellowish in color often due to mixture of bacteria, dead cell and white blood cells.
The onset of furuncle often starts with the growth of a tiny and reddish lump which is tender and painful. The size of lump can vary from pea sized or as big as golf ball while the lump is rapidly filled with pustules. While the lump is increasing in size, the pain and tension is increasing as well until it is big enough to burst often after several days from onset. The skin surrounding the boil also becomes tender and inflamed as the boil is increasing in size. The boil usually burst and drains on its own after it has ripened leaking the pus and the infection away from the site.
Symptoms of furunculosis in severe form can include the following:
- Onset of fever
- Weakness and fatigue
- Palpable swollen lymph nodes
The onset of furunculosis is primarily implicated in bacterial infection of the hair follicle by Staphylococcus aureus. The bacteria can infect the skin through breaks from cuts and scratches sending off neutrophils to ward off infection subsequently, inflammation and pus formation in the affected site.
Furunculosis can also be acquired through close contact to a person with boil as furunculosis is contagious. Potential risks are also being considered for the development of furuncle and these include the following:
- Participation in any activity requiring close contact
- People with compromised immune system
- Overweight or obese individual
- People living or staying in crowded quarters such as prison cells and military barracks.
- Poor hygiene
Treatment of furunculosis is geared towards draining of pus and hastens the healing process while preventing bacteria from spreading to other parts of the body. Furunculosis can also be cared at home although it is still important that prompt treatment is applied while it is strongly advised not to prick the boil as this may cause further infection.
Treatment of furunculosis may include the following:
- Medicines such as antibiotics, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Warm compress to encourage drainage
- Incision and drainage procedure