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Pustules describe any red or white lesion elevated above the skin, hair, nails or other surface tissues that contain a cloudy liquid. The liquid is usually, but not always, pus.


Pustules can indicate a number of conditions, from the prosaic like acne to the life-threatening such as smallpox. They are also a classic symptom of varicella or any disease with the suffix -pox (such as rickettsialpox). Pustules will normally resolve themselves without treatment, but can cause scarring if they are widespread.

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