Folliculitis

What is folliculitis? 

— Folliculitis is a skin problem that happens when a hair follicle gets infected. A hair follicle is a sac under the skin where a hair starts to grow. Usually, folliculitis happens because bacteria (a kind of germ) get into the hair follicle. Occasionally, folliculitis is caused by a fungus or virus in the hair follicle, or because of another reason.

What are the symptoms of bacterial folliculitis? — The main symptom is a group of small, raised red bumps on your skin. These bumps can be tender or itchy, and they might have pus in them.

What can I do on my own to treat it? — Wet a clean washcloth with warm water and put it on the bumps. When the cloth cools, reheat it with warm water and put it back on the area. Repeat these steps for 10 to 15 minutes, 3 times a day.

Do not shave the area that has folliculitis. That will just irritate it more and might spread the infection.

Should I see a doctor or nurse? — See your doctor or nurse if the folliculitis does not go away after you treat it at home. You should also see your doctor or nurse if:

●The bumps get larger or more painful

●The bumps go away but then come back

●You get a fever

Will I need tests? — Not usually. To make sure you do not have another skin condition, your doctor or nurse will ask about your symptoms and do an exam. If it is hard to tell what is causing your folliculitis, he or she might test a sample of pus, or do a different test.

What other treatment might I have? — If your bacterial folliculitis does not go away on its own, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic cream. If a lot of your skin is affected, you might need an antibiotic pill. But most cases of folliculitis get better without treatment.

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