Heat-Related Skin Infections On The Rise

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – For Karrell Johnson of Dallas, a painful brush with a carbuncle started as a seemingly benign knot on his back.

“I went out and played golf, “ said the UNT music instructor, “only nine holes because of the heat, but I wasn’t bothered with it at all.”

But, after a 2,500 mile road trip in the sweltering heat, Johnson says the ‘little knot’ turned into a nasty infection.  “It was just huge, and very infected, “ said Johnson.

Often called carbuncles or sebaceous cysts, doctors are seeing a rise in skin infections during this heatwave—as if the weather itself isn’t making us miserable enough.

“It can go on for days or even weeks, looking okay and then all of a sudden for whatever reason—sit for a long time, you get sweaty, you start exercising, and overnight it can turn south on us, “ said Dr. Jeff Goudreau, a Dallas internal medicine physician.

Patients sometimes complain of fever, fatigue, or just a general discomfort.  Itching can occur before the carbuncle develops, and then the knot will turn painful and irritated with a white or yellow center.  As the infection worsens, the cyst will ‘weep’ and be filled with pus, and form a crust.

The infection is highly contagious and patients must take precautions to prevent the spread to other parts of the body , or to family members.  And be especially vigilant, doctors say, at the gym.

“You go to the gym, you do some reps on the weight machines and you get up without cleaning it, “ said Goudreau, “somebody else can lay down, sit down there, and have the same problem.”

Goudreau says the cysts must be drained—a process which is typically very painful—and are usually treated with antibiotics.  Otherwise healthy patients typically won’t suffer any long term health effects, he says… but, that’s not to say that the skin infections aren’t nasty and downright painful until they heal.

Johnson headed to his doctor and is on the mend; but, admits he should’ve gone sooner. “I didn’t even want him to touch it, it was so sore.”


One Comment

  1. Stanford Ross says:

    Over fifty years ago I broke out with those painful and ugly Carbuncles after a trip to the midwest from California. The doctor took a sample of the pus and sent it to the Lab. They made a serum from it, and then shot it in me. It stopped the breakout forever.

  2. Lan H says:

    Sounds like a witch doctor convention on here. These things need cutting open and draining by a doctor. Bacon fat? Good way to make it worse.

    1. Kitten says:

      Sorry Lan, but the bacon fat works. I can vouch for it.

      1. Michael says:

        Same here. For some reason a raw piece of bacon draws out poisons in the body. Ever seen the old movies with people holding raw meat on their fresh black eye? I don’t know why, but it works better than anything I can get at the drug store. Can’t ‘splain it but it definitely works – and surprisingly fast, too.

      2. Jake says:

        Bacon fat works, but it MUST be from a pig slaughtered during a full moon. Once you apply it, you must turn counterclockwise three times, and then rub a salamander on the carbuncle.

      3. Frank says:

        Raw meat on any sort of wound creates a serious risk of infection. It does not work, no matter what you think. Steak on a black eye is simply explained. It is cold, that reduces swelling, but use ice instead. Bacon goes in you not on you!

      4. JackP says:

        Do you fry and eat the bacon afterwards?

  3. Mikey says:

    I had one of those on my back a couple of years ago. It didn’t get infected but it got big enough to be irritating (about the size of a marble). I ended up having it cut out. It was a simple enough procedure and was done in my doctor’s office.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would wait long eough for it to get as big and nasty as the one in this story…

    1. tbone says:

      I had a patient in the ER one time with one on his back…NO LYING…the head of it was the size of a softball, and the inflammation covered his whole back…looked like a volcano on his back…my thinking is the same…How do you let it go that long?

      1. MajorPhartz says:

        You probably want to lay a raw ham on him…

    2. me says:

      I had an abscess on my leg and in three days it was golf ball sized…it can happen really fast!

      1. TexansforCHRIST says:

        When you believe in Jesus? All is possible. He brings cysts and puss to those who believe. HAL YOU LA LA LA

      2. Aunt Negrem says:

        The use of the lance to open the boil ,,used in the british army for tropical service,,just stand back out the way.

  4. stl_tl says:

    I had one of those on my chest last summer, grew to the size of a marble. My wife sterilized a sewing needle, lanced it, and squeezed it like a zit. The most ungodly stream of kunk came shooting out, looked like oatmeal shooting out of a toothpaste tube. After it was all drained I washed it with soap and water and hydrogen peroxide then coated it with antibiotic ointment for a few days. Within a week it was all gone.

    1. Jack P says:

      If it looks like oatmeal it may have been oatmeal. Did you taste test it?

  5. rmkeyjr says:

    you start exercising, and overnight it can turn south on us, “ said Dr. Jeff Goudreau, a Dallas internal medicine physician.
    The correct term is “it can turn north on us”

    1. Yirmin says:

      The thing to remember is to avoid this just don’t exercise…. works for me.

    2. kes says:

      Does that apply to both sides of the equator? That north and south stuff….

  6. windriver says:

    I woke up from a camping vacation a few years back with one of these on the back of my neck. It was a little sore but by that evening I could not turn my head. I had to pack up and we left to go home the pain was so bad. It got cut open and drained by the doctor. PAIN was the word for the next few days and I still have a divot looking scar there.

    1. Crikey says:

      that was a spider bite, not a carbuncle

  7. Zek says:

    In my days we use to call these things beauty marks. Women who had them were highly sought after in the belief they would bear many children. What has happened to people now adays?

    1. MajorPhartz says:

      Whare the hell did you grow up…..USSR

  8. ken says:

    carbuncle ? sounds more like a bad case of “obama”

  9. wishiwasfunny says:

    never mind. Garfield’s owner was Jon ARBUCKLE. The joke will never happen.

  10. Jack Kennedy says:

    when we rid the country of the disease known as obama, these types of maladies will go away ………. its called stress from the obama depression

  11. glenp says:



    A carbuncle (pronounced /ˈkɑːbʌŋkᵊl/) is an abscess larger than a boil, usually with one or more openings draining pus onto the skin. It is usually caused by bacterial infection, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus. The infection is contagious and may spread to other areas of the body or other people. [1] Because the condition is contagious, family members may develop carbuncles at the same time

    1. Mrs.A says:

      There is no “MERSA”. MRSA is the proper acronym for Methacillin-Resistant Staph Aureus.

      1. glenp says:

        well smartass MERSA IS the term for “ME”thicillin “R”esistant “S”taph “A”ureaus

        hence “MERSA”

        OBTW where is your medical degree of any sort

  12. Chippy55 says:

    I have friends who get them because they are working on siding and roof jobs when it’s 95 degrees out, and they take off their shirts. Cover up and wear a hat. Period. When your skin tans it’s nature’s way of saying, ‘Get out of the sun”. Why in the world peeps speak of a “healthy looking tan” is beyond me.

  13. MsPrimm says:

    Yeah you put the raw bacon on the infection first. But this method only works if afterward you immediately wrap up the bacon and bury it in your backyard.

    1. anne2 says:

      bwaaaaaaaaaaa! lolol

  14. AbbaDBabba says:

    Bat dung and cobwebs are best. Take 1 pint of blood from the arm first.

    1. anne2 says:

      LOL………………Do you BELIEVE some of these comments???!

    2. Jack P says:

      Soft cow dung works very well and it rubs on easier than bat dung, which dries out quicker. A bit smelly at first but it lessens as it dries and hardens.

  15. jimers says:

    I get these from eating foods containing Canola oil

  16. Indy says:

    The only carbunkle I`m suffering from is the one in the white house. It won`t go away.

  17. incredulousone says:

    The comments on this story make me weep for our educational system and future. Im going to start brushing up on my Mandarin or Farsi… FFS!

  18. TheRealKingMax says:

    It’s Obama’s fault.

    Impeach Obama.

    1. Johnny FUSeed says:

      This only happens in Texas. Nuke Texas.

  19. Dr. Livingston says:

    I recommend going to your area lake or pond and catch a few leech’s. Apply the leech’s to the effected area and walla the carbuncle is now inside the leech. Now that is symbiosis at is best.

  20. Dr. Livingston says:

    I recommend going to your area lake or pond and catch a few leech’s. Apply the leech’s to the affected area and walla the carbuncle is now inside the leech. Now that is symbiosis at its best.

    1. Romy says:

      Walla is not a word. You mean Voila’, a french term meaning “there it is.”

      Iodine folks, soaks into the skin and kills the staph.

      1. snowy says:

        Two leeches and it’s Walla Walla….. if you are in Washington State.

  21. Spoker says:

    Just spent 3 weeks getting rid of one of these the size of a racquet ball along with several smallers one all over my torso. The culture showed it was staph. Nasty, painfull before it was lanced. Lots of strong antibiotics. Not a fun experience.

  22. AmazedAmerican says:

    I can remember my mother telling me about her brother having a carbuncle in the back of his neck. When it had come to a head the doctor put heat to an empty clean coke bottle. When the bottle was hot he put the opening over the carbuncle and it sucked the pus right out. I was stunned as a young child, to have heard this but never forgot it. I am 69 now, still hope I don’t get a carbuncle.

    1. anne2 says:

      How interesting……………………………….

  23. Theres one says:

    I always thought of obama as a huge zit on the arse of America, turned out, obama is actually a carbuncle , go figure.

  24. jenny says:

    Not surprising. This is why i always keep a tube of stapheseptic ointment…it works really good and does prevent staph infections! nasty stuff though…ewwww

  25. GeneParmesan says:

    Funny..You can see when Drudge put up a link for his mouth-breathers almost to the minute

    1. A Reader says:

      What are mouth-breathers?

    2. A Reader says:

      Mr. Parmesan, I hope you conclude that I am being respectful and sincere. When you say ‘mouth-breathers,’ you reveal a contempt for people who visit Drudge. The reason they/we go to Drudge is simple: we believe it is unfiltered, not propagandized, and doesn’t try to sneakily convince us of anything. I believe that most people would use such reasons to pick their news site…unless they felt that, by forcing people to watch propagandized, biased, sneaky news, some good goal would be achieved. Which group do you think you fall in?

      Anyway, w/r/t mouth-breathers, the important thing to remember is they use the right end of the body to breath through.

      1. saulinskyrules says:

        Reader, I salute you. Your putdown of Mr. sob Parmesan is classic, righteous and will scar him for life. If the least bit sensitive, his posting days are over.

  26. anne2 says:

    Yes, the education system in this country is appalling. The skin is the bodys largest organ. People, people, bathe or shower EVERYDAY, then put on lots of powder. Triple DUUUH..

  27. Luna Lupus says:

    Don’t know about you.. as for me, it sounds just like MRSA. That’s what it is. You can call it a carbuncle, cyst, spider bites, whatever you like… The description is MRSA! Yes, it’s highly contagious, can spread on the body. It behaves just as they’ve described it.

    1. anne2 says:

      True. This is MRSA…..

    2. nurseterri5 says:

      MRSA aka methicillin ressistant staph-aureus can ONLY be diagnosed by doing a culture and sensitivity of the infected drainage from said site and see if the bacteria that grows from the C+S is in fact, MRSA. Many bacterial infections are contagious, not all are MRSA.

  28. dave says:

    what a bunch of wankers

  29. Bill_L says:

    These are ‘boils’… A clogged pore gets bacteria in it, the area gets hard and painful and comes to a head after a while… HOT water compresses speed up the process, to an amazing degree, and after all the nastiness is squeezed out it can be loaded with Neosporin and a bandage… That puts out the fire… Rub the surrounding area with Germ X wipes…

  30. sbrjs says:

    I remember in the 70s Simon and Carbuncle was real popular.

    1. rickey roma says:

      thats the funniest comment yet

  31. sojs says:

    or just go to wikipedia like the reporter did find out what they say… lazy lazy so sad…

  32. anne2 says:

    Bathe and Shower,,,Bathe and Shower. The vast majority of this comes from FILTH growing on the skin. FACT. Who gets the majority of this?? Mid-aged and elders. Why? Lack of hygeine. Go to your local nursing homes where you will see this in full display. No hygeine. Gyms are another place. Total scuz-buckets use those places. I’d be willing to bet that a great many of you take a bath twice a year if that..

    1. Tom says:

      Why Anne, I take a bath twice a month whether I need one or not, not twice a year. I may not have all my teeth, but what I do have I brush at least once a week.
      A mid-aged scuz bucket.

    2. Mikey says:

      Scuz bucket….. Wow, I just got transported back to the 80’s.

  33. artemis133 says:

    Bush’s fault.

  34. Nic says:

    I was told by several doctors that they are not contagious and that no one knows the specific causes of these are. So I question the validity of this article.

  35. anne2 says:

    This has nothing to do with heat, as this lame story suggests…


  36. P. Lanham says:

    This could be the very serious MRSA.


  37. T. Party says:

    It’s not a carbuncle or sebaceous cyst, it’s an Obama voter. But don’t worry – in late 2012, we’ll “drain the cyst” (AKA vote the socialists out) and replace them with some honest Americans…

  38. David says:

    Had one last year where I couldn’t even sit.Worse pain ever!

  39. Tom says:

    When you elect me, it shall be the time when the carbunkles shall heal and the pus will begin to recede…

  40. TaiFood says:

    Has anyone considered that the parasitic worm might be a contributing factor? The dysfunctional immune system seems to share many traits of a type of “wound” that does not heal properly. Many are scabs that don’t seem to heal, but the entire subject matter is understudied by PRIMARY research. The last national focus on the harm to US citizens by hookworms (also see threadworm, whip, pin, ring, etc.) or another type of round worm. The CDC info is contradicting. It is also noteworthy that all domesticated mammals are urgently advised to get annual de-worming treatment whether or not they show symptoms. The potential impact could range from allergy to autism to Alzheimer’s, if only we were to think of ourselves as a mammal as well as a human. As to cyst’s etc, what then about morgellon’s syndrome? and all others that seem to share the worm parasite’s contrails.

    1. TaiFood says:

      I left out that unlike common belief the entire US population was at risk in the early 1900’s but the eradication efforts were aimed at the former’s slave’s decedents and others of poor means pointing to filth, laziness and lack of proper hygiene (See Rockefeller Institute Hookworm et al on google books). For an infection that impairs a child’s mental development or put’s a mother’s life on the line during birth (anemia), as well as why aren’t worms capable to infect eyes heart lungs and others organs as it used to be known as a potential of untreated infections. Only cats, dogs and horses seem to warrant the necessary medical precautions.

  41. CK says:

    I looked up “mouthbreather.” Said, see GeneParmesan.

  42. Gloria says:

    A carbuncle, also known as a boil, is caused by a Staph infection. It will open up, drain on its own and heal. However, this Staph bug is extremely difficult to get rid of and will stay dormant in one’s system until the immune system is compromised and then it will return… often in the same place as the previous boil. I speak from experience and have even been on a round of tetracycline to get rid of it. Worked for awhile and then it came back. Sugar or any kind of overheating of my core temperature seems to trigger it.

  43. Elroy Jetson says:

    If you squeeze it, and it smells like Limburger cheese, save it, dry it out and age it in a cool place, like a basement, in about 6 months, you will have some of the best cheese in the world. And, if you pee on it, it becomes cheddar.

  44. Emily M. Altman, MD, FAAD says:

    There are two different things being discussed in the story and that makes it totally confusing.

    The highly infectious carbuncles are usually infections with Staph aureus, 40% of which is MRSA, methicillin resistant Staph, the so called superbug. That is highly contagious and needs to be treated. A curbuncle is essentially an abscess. Abscesses do not sit around looking fine until they become red and swollen. They are an acute infection and need to be treated rapidly.

    Epidermal cysts or sebaceous cysts are not infectious or contagious. They are collections of keratin in thin sacks in the skin that result from a blocked up hair follicle. They can get inflamed and red.

    Both of these need to be drained. The infection requires an antibiotic, the cyst may or may not.

    I find the information here inaccurate. Perhaps the stories on skin infections need to be written by a dermatologist or an infectious disease specialist.

  45. David H says:

    This has got to be one of the most poorly written, misleading, inaccurate “medical” articles I have ever read! If you have a lump, see your doctor, but do not try diagnosing using this piece of drivel as a reference.

    Dr. H, M.D.

  46. lance boyle says:

    I think I’m gonna puke.

  47. YoYo says:

    Many people have said….”Why didn’t they go to the doctor?” I would guess one of the reasons is because of no medical insurance OR if you do have medical insurance you make an appointment and get an appointment one week later.

    Ever try to find a doctor with no insurance and cash only???

  48. Xeu says:

    It makes me laugh so hard that the deep South has to suffer through disgusting heat, nasty infections, bedbugs, etc.

    You all deserve it, considering you’re Republican states and don’t believe in global warming. Enjoy, jerks. 🙂

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