A carbuncle is a red, swollen, and painful cluster of boils that are connected to each other under the skin. A boil (or furuncle) is an infection of a hair follicle that has a small collection of pus (called an abscess) under the skin. Usually single, a carbuncle is most likely to occur on a hairy area of the body such as the back or nape of the neck. But a carbuncle also can develop in other areas of the body such as the buttocks, thighs, groin, and armpits
A carbuncle is a group of boils located in one area of the body. Carbuncles may have more than one head that fills with pus. Some people can get boils or carbuncles over and over in one spot of the body.
People with certain illnesses like diabetes are more likely to get boils. Another risk factor is having another skin condition such as eczema, or conditions that reduce the skin’s ability to fight germs.
This skin infection can be spread to other people. On rare occasions, it can be serious, and cause infection of the bloodstream, infection of other body parts, or general infection of the body (sepsis). A serious infection with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) can also occur
Carbuncles cause a deeper and more serious infection than boils, so their symptoms may be more severe. In addition to the same symptoms as seen in boils, carbuncles may also:
- cause fever and chills or other symptoms
- heal more slowly
- scar the skin