SKIN DISEASES: Folliculitis and related conditions (boils and carbuncles)
Location: The condition may occur anywhere on the skin, particularly on the scalp, back, legs and arms.
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Symptoms: Folliculitis – is an inflammation of one or more hair follicles, caused by hair follicles either being
blocked or damaged by friction from clothing or shaving. In most cases of folliculitis, the damaged follicles are then
infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus. Barber's itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the bearded area
of the face, usually the upper lip, the condition is frequently aggravated by shaving. Boils are tender, painful, often fluctuant swelling in a non weight-bearing
area (most commonly in the areas of friction) that form around hair follicles often occurs on the
neck, breasts, buttocks, face, the nasal area or the external ear. Carbuncles are clusters of boils.
The most frequent symptoms for folliculitis are: pus in the hair follicle,
irritated and red follicles, damaged hair. Symptoms for boils may include: pus in the center of the boil, whitish, bloody
discharge from the boil. Clusters have similar symptoms with the boils, but patient may experience fever and fatigue.
Treatments: Frequent use of soap and water and the use of topical antibiotic agents, such as mupirocin or bacitracin
(Neosporin, Polysporin), generally clear the lesions. Occasionally, the addition of a systemic antistaphylococcal agent
is required. Treatment often requires moist heat to help drain a boil. Use of oral antibiotics should be considered if the
furuncle is not yet fluctuant, if there is evidence of surrounding cellulitis or lymphadenitis, or if the lesion is on
the face. Keeping the skin clean helps to prevent these conditions from occurring.
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