Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Although you're likely to see your family doctor or a general practitioner first, you may be referred to a specialist in skin diseases (dermatologist) or infectious diseases.
What you can do
Write down all your signs and symptoms and when they first occurred. Record how long the lesions lasted and if any recurred.
Make a list of all medications, including vitamins, herbs and over-the-counter drugs that you're taking. Even better, take the original bottles and a written list of the dosages and directions.
For boils and carbuncles, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What might be causing the signs and symptoms?
- Are tests needed to confirm the diagnosis?
- Is this condition temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Can I wait to see if the condition goes away on its own?
- What can I do to prevent the infection from spreading?
- What skin-care routine do you recommend while the condition heals?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- What did the boil look like when it first started?
- Are your symptoms painful?
- Have you had a boil or carbuncle before?
- What medications do you take?
- Are you having fever or chills?
- Do you have artificial heart valves, joints or other implanted devices?
- Habif TP. Furuncles and carbuncles. In Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/book/player/book.do?method=display&type=bookPage&decorator=header&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00018-3--s0295&uniq=215950578&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&sid=1042832232. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Baddour LM. Skin abscesses, furuncles, and carbuncles. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Rakel RE. Furuncles and carbuncles. In: Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/215950578-5/1042832232/1481/236.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2467-5..50024-5--cesec94_966. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Tree tea oil. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com/(S(iyok1uyiw1fl112ek3ax2lu2))/nd/Search.aspx?cs=MAYO&s=ND&pt=100&id=113&fs=ND&searchid=11129198. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Personal prevention of MRSA skin infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/prevent/personal.html. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Archer GL. Staphylococcal infections. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/130655031-2/826443940/1492/1112.html#4-u1. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.