Sometimes they come back: what does relapse of furunculosis indicate?

Let's figure out why boils can appear more than once a year. What is the reason, how to treat, how to prevent recurrence?

Sometimes they come back: what does relapse of furunculosis indicate 36032

What are boils

A furuncle is a deep infection of a hair follicle. It is accompanied by the formation of a “pouch” filled with pus under the skin. It is usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus. But it does not have a “monopoly” on boils: they can be caused by other bacteria (streptococci, enterococci and others).

What is recurrent furunculosis

Within a year, boils reappear in about 10% of people who have suffered furunculosis or soft tissue abscess. Recurrent furunculosis is said to occur when boils appear at least three times within 12 months. Domestic sources consider furunculosis to be recurrent (in a mild form), if relapses occur once a year, without intoxication, possibly with enlargement of local lymph nodes.

The disease can be severe

With severe furunculosis, multiple foci of boils appear in different areas of the skin. General intoxication, weakness, headache, fever, and sweating develop. A violent inflammatory reaction is characteristic of a moderately severe disease: boils reach large sizes, and inflammation of the lymph nodes develops. After furunculosis, scars may remain on the skin.

Why do boils recur?

Many scientists call the tendency of family members to furunculosis the most significant risk factor as “simple” boils, as well as recurrent course of the disease. In recurring furunculosis, an important role is played by the colonization of the nose or other parts of the body by staphylococcus (this can be the inguinal folds, ears, folds under the mammary glands).

Risk factors for recurrent furunculosis include:

  • anemia;
  • use of antibiotics the day before;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • hospitalization;
  • multiplicity of lesions on the skin;
  • associated skin diseases (wounds, atopic dermatitis);
  • poor personal hygiene skills;
  • obesity;
  • diseases of the blood system and hematopoietic organs;
  • suppressed immunity (but scientists believe that it is rarely the main cause).

In many cases of furunculosis, doctors cannot detect any of these risk factors; anyone can develop the disease. Scientists emphasize that many risk factors for relapse are modifiable, that is, they can be influenced in order to prevent the disease.


Recurrent furunculosis is not always easy to treat. Single boils can be opened by a surgeon, followed by local treatment. Antibiotics are prescribed if furunculosis is severe, does not respond to local treatment, or develops against a background of suppressed immunity or concomitant diseases.

In case of relapses, it may be necessary to treat all carriers of the causative agent of furunculosis (staphylococcus) at the patient’s home. If harmful bacteria colonize the patient's skin, the doctor can try to destroy them using antiseptics for external use. Effective treatment requires control of concomitant diseases, such as diabetes.

To effectively cure small boils, it is also recommended to:

  • Apply warm compresses to the boils for about 10 minutes at a time. This promotes their opening and drainage.
  • Never squeeze boils, this can promote the spread of infections in the soft tissues.
  • Prevent contamination. After treating boils, you need to wash your hands. The fabric used for the compress should be thoroughly washed in hot water.

Prevention of relapses of furunculosis

  • Follow the rules personal hygiene (do not share towels, deodorants, razors with anyone; shower regularly).
  • Regularly wash the bathtub, toilet seats and other surfaces that often come into contact.
  • In case of infections of soft tissues (including boils), you must strictly follow the doctor’s recommendations and carefully monitor the toilet of the wounds.