Bacteria on the skin can cause an infection of one or more hair follicles. A hair follicle is the base or root of a hair. There are 3 different kinds of infections:
These can occur anywhere on the skin where there is hair. They happen most often where there may be rubbing and sweating. This includes the back of the neck, face, armpits, waist, groin, thighs, or buttocks.
Anybody can develop folliculitis, furuncles, or carbuncles. A child may be more at risk if he or she:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
The lesions may be:
Symptoms that affect the whole body can include:
The symptoms of folliculitis, furuncles, and carbuncles can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam.
Your child may need to see a specialist to treat a moderate to severe furuncle or carbuncle. A sample of the pus from the infection may be sent to a lab. This is called a culture. It’s done to see what type of bacteria caused the infection. It can help the doctor decide the best antibiotic for treatment.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Folliculitis and mild furuncles may go away with no treatment. Warm cloths (compresses) may help easy symptoms and speed healing.
Moderate to severe furuncles and carbuncles are often treated by draining. A healthcare provider cuts into the lesion and drains the fluid (pus) inside. This is called incision and drainage. Your child may also need to take antibiotic medicine by mouth (oral) or in a vein (IV). You may also need to apply antibiotic ointment or cream on your child.
To help to prevent these infections:
Possible complications may include:
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider: