Photos such as the ones available on WebMD.com, NHS.UK.com and MayoClinic.org show real examples of boils and carbuncles, allowing you to compare your own physical symptoms to those of a confirmed boil or carbuncle. You should contact your doctor if a boil is very painful or does not clear up within two weeks, notes Mayo Clinic.
A boil most often appears as a raised, pus-filled bump, surrounded by an area of reddened skin, as seen in the photo on NHS Choices. If your skin has an appearance similar to this photo, there is a good chance that you have a boil. The carbuncle shown on this website appears as a large raised mass on the surface of the skin, with pus leaking from multiple points. A carbuncle is defined as a large collection of boils that develops over a few days. A carbuncle is usually painful, according to WebMD.
The slide show of boil and carbuncle images on WebMD shows these types of skin infections in many different body areas and levels of severity. Boils and carbuncles are often caused by Staphylococcus bacteria entering deeper layers of the skin through a minor injury or bug bite, according to Mayo Clinic. Some boils form when pores and hair follicles become clogged with oil or dirt, causing an infection. If you suspect you have a boil or carbuncle, avoid squeezing or piercing the area. Instead, WebMD recommends that you apply a hot compress to the area a few times per day to promote drainage.