What Is a Furuncle?

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By katherine
Aug 1, 2020
Medical Expert Medical Expert

If you do not have medical training, it may sometimes be difficult for you to tell the difference between various types of skin lesions. Potentially adding to the confusion are the different names given to the same skin abnormality. For example, you may know what a boil is, but furuncle, the scientific name for this condition, may be unfamiliar to you. Furuncles are also known as skin abscesses, although this category also refers to a similar type of skin lesion known as a carbuncle.

You can develop a furuncle on the skin of any part of your body. However, they tend to develop most often on the armpits, buttocks, face, or neck. A stye is a boil that forms on the eyelid. People of all ages can develop furuncles, but they most often occur in young adults and adolescents compared to the elderly and the very young. Often a furuncle goes away on its own without medical treatment. However, sometimes a boil is more persistent and requires the attention of a doctor.

1. How Common Are Furuncles?

Furuncles are very common. There are over 200,000 cases of boils in the United States every year. Certain underlying medical conditions may put you at increased risk for developing a furuncle. However, you can develop a boil even if you are otherwise healthy.

Not only are boils common among the general population, but they can also sometimes keep coming back in the same patient. This is called recurrent furunculosis. Ordinarily, doctors do not prescribe antibiotics to treat furuncles. However, if they keep coming back over time, the doctor may make an exception to resolve the underlying infection that causes the recurrent lesion.

Furuncle

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