Carbuncle is a cluster of boils that are connected to each other. Boils are painful, pus-filled, red bumps that form onto the skin due to bacterial infection. They originate at the hair follicles due to inflammation caused by bacteria.

Boils usually occur on the hairy areas of the body, especially on the face, neck, armpits, buttocks and thighs. They grow larger until they rupture to drain the pus, at times leaving behind a scar. Carbuncle is caused by the bacteria, Staphylococcus Aureus, which is commonly found on the skin and inside the nose.  It may also develop on a cut in the skin, providing easy passage for the bacteria to enter.

Normal healthy people can get affected by carbuncle, but certain risk factors increase the chances of contracting the disease. These include close contact with someone with boils, weakened immunity, chronic skin conditions that damage the skin’s protective barrier, diabetes and overall poor hygiene and health.

Boils may start as pinkish red, raised area on the skin that is tender and aching. You may be able to identify a boil by noticing the following symptoms:

  • Swollen, red, pea-sized bump that runs deep in the skin

  • Painful bumps, especially when touched

  • Yellowish white tip as it fills with pus that oozes out eventually

  • Vary in size from being small as a pea, to as big as a golf ball

Carbuncle is a  type of boils which is a deeper and more severe infection, and it may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Fever and chills

  • Prolonged healing time

  • Boils that leave behind scars​

A single boil isn’t a cause for concern and can be treated at home. However, it is not advisable to rupture the boil on your own as it can spread the infection.

In case of carbuncle or a boil that persists, recurs, causes a fever and is especially painful, consult a medical practitioner immediately. You can seek the advice of one of our doctors at the Teeth and Skin Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital the only internationally accredited hospital in Pakistan.​
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​
Carbuncle is easy to diagnose as a simple examination of the infected area by your doctor usually provides sufficient evidence.

In case your infection does not get better after you have received a standard treatment, your doctor may collect a sample of pus for lab testing. The correct determination of the bacteria causing the infection can help your doctor to prescribe the proper antibiotics that will work effectively.

Apart from being unsightly, boils can be a constant source of agony, especially as they grow larger with time. You can try to treat small boils at home by applying simple topical antibiotics. If home treatment is not effective, doctors working with the <Teeth and Skin Service Line> at The Aga Khan University Hospital can help ease your pain by administering the following treatments:

  • Doctor will assess the severity of the lesion and will give some blood tests after your thorough examination

  • Antibiotics, if the infection is severe and recurrent

  • Will also assess for the need of incision and drainage and will guide you accordingly.​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.