What causes boils
Abscesses and boils
Yes, festering skin infections differ in where they arise and how far they spread.
Pimples can form after shaving if the hair is carelessly torn from its anchorage by dull blades. The irritation creates tiny red spots that swell and look like pimples. Unlike an inflammatory abscess (encapsulated collection of pus), the body does not respond to them with a defense reaction. Only when bacteria settle does the inconspicuous pimple turn into an unmistakable abscess.
Suppurating inflammatory phenomena are commonly referred to as abscesses. It is characteristic that an abscess is separate from the rest of the tissue in a kind of capsule. The more pus that accumulates in the capsule, the greater the pressure on the surrounding areas and the more painful the abscess.
The purulent inflammation can be of different sizes. Some are only a few millimeters in size, while others are the size of an apple. You can recognize it on the skin by a swelling with a yellowish blister in the middle, which is due to the pus. The area is clearly reddened, feels hot and tense. The pronounced pressure of the boil causes severe pain - an important feature to distinguish it from a harmless pimple.
A furuncle is a deep inflammation of the hair follicle that also affects the surrounding tissue. The word furunculus comes from Latin and means "little thief". A boil does justice to this name: it steals the body's strength to defend itself against intruders. From this follows the development of furunculosis.
This is a group of boils that occur repeatedly and in different places despite treatment. Boils arise from folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle). If the follicle is not only inflamed but also clogged, the inflammation spreads to deeper and surrounding tissues.
In the initial stages, you can treat a boil on your own, but if the inflammation has progressed, you should consult a doctor.
If the bacteria infect several neighboring hair follicles and the inflammations combine to form a large lump filled with pus, one no longer speaks of a boil, but of a carbuncle. It occurs mainly in the neck and is occasionally associated with a general feeling of illness and fever. Severely inflamed carbuncles should be shown to a doctor urgently and should not be treated independently.
Inflammation of the hair follicle (folliculitis)
In the preliminary stage of boils, only the upper part of the hair follicle is inflamed. The hair follicle or hair follicle holds the hair root and thus the hair firmly in the skin. With folliculitis, pus-filled, reddish pustules and small, palpable knots form around the hair. It looks like a hair is growing out of the abscess. The skin itches and hurts. With appropriate treatment, folliculitis is harmless if the formation of boils or carbuncles is prevented in good time.
Sweat gland inflammation
Sweat glands are the body's air conditioning system. They are found in large numbers on the armpits, back, buttocks and genital area. The glands in the armpits are particularly affected by inflammation. Sensitive skin is particularly irritated by shaving, deodorants or rubbing clothing. Excessive sweating promotes the colonization of bacteria, which can easily penetrate the sweat glands via the enlarged pores and damaged skin. This inflammation manifests itself as a painful burning sensation and itching, but is usually well treatable.
Inflammation of the nail bed
Small cuts, splinters or flakes in the area of the nail wall can cause nail bed inflammation. But also tight shoes, fingernail biting or dry hands make it easier for bacteria to penetrate the skin. If the nail bed is inflamed, a red, shiny, pressure-sensitive and purulent lump forms around the nail wall, and the nail appears attacked. The pus that collects under the nail plate mostly drains through the side edge of the nail.
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