This patient information and photograph on “boils” is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.

What is it?

FURUNCLEA furuncle is a common, often painful, infection of the skin. it is commonly known as a “boil”. Furuncles can occur at any age, but they are seen more often in adults. Furuncles typically begin as a red sore bump. This bump often grows into a large size becoming tender and painful. With time the furuncle fills with pus and frequently softens and drains. Furuncles can occur anywhere on the skin, but they are most commonly seen in areas of friction such as the thighs and buttocks.

What causes it?

A furuncle is a deep infection of a hair follicle. Hair follicles are structures deep in the skin that make hairs. The follicle becomes infected with bacteria and swelling and inflammation then occur causing the boil.

Is it dangerous?

For the typical healthy person boils are harmless. They are not related to cancer and they do not involve internal organs.

Can it be cured?

Treatment is very effective. A few unfortunate people may get recurrent boils.

Will it spread?

It is possible to have more than one boil at the same time.

Is it contagious?

The bacteria in the boil may be infectious. Skin to skin contact of the boil with others should be avoided until the boil has healed.

© John “Lucky” Meisenheimer, M.D.  2019                                   WWW.OrlandoSkinDoc.com