Ear Canal

Furuncle

A Furuncle is a tiny ‘boil’ – another name for an infection of one hair folicle in the outer ear.

It begins like a small pimple and then develops into a huge local infection – like a mini surface abcess. Furuncle’s can be extremely painful, any movement of the pinna or pressure on the front of the ear will make the pain intense. The person can become generally unwell as the body fights the infection. The Furuncle will develop with increasing pain until it comes to a head and bursts – then the person often experiences instant relief .

Sometimes the pus will run down the ear canal and settle in the deep canal – this can be cleared easily with microsuction. Looking at the ear you might see a small tight swelling, perhaps with a pus filled head right at the top. The surrounding skin will be normal.

Usually Staphylococcus aureus is the bacteria that causes a furuncle. Pain relief is the first aim, and perhaps oral antibiotics will be prescribed. As people with high blood sugar are more likely to develop ‘boils’ your GP may order a diabetes blood screen.