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Boils (Furuncles), symptoms, Causes, Risk Factor and Treatment

Boils (Furuncles)

Boils are characterized by painful bumps appears on the skin, because of the infection of hair follicles. The boils are caused by the bacteria called Staphylococcus. It is generally believed that many people during their life acts as carrier of a staph germ, which means that the bacteria live in their nose without harming them throughout their life. The tiny opening created by some kind of scratch or friction are known to help the germ to enter in the hair follicles and cause infection which lead to boils.


Boils can be easily treated by simple self-care, but pus caused by the infection of the follicles needed to drain out to heal the scars completely. In most of the cases boils can be resolved by themselves, but in some cases medical attention is needed. Antibiotics may also facilitate in removing boils. The small boils if left untreated may grow and create a giant multi-headed boil known as carbuncle. In some rare cases the blood stream may rush out from the infected area and cause serious illness.
Who’s At Risk?

It is believed that the boils are common in young adults especially in teenagers.

  • The athletes who are participating in contact sports and uses shared equipment
  • It affects those individuals who have weak immune system, or prone to some diseases like diabetes, HIV and also those who are taking certain medicines such as to prevent the rejection of the transplanted organs and to treat the dangerous cancer through chemotherapy.
  • If you have other skin problems like scratching or skin injuries due to eczema
  • If you are a staph carrier
  • In obese people
  • If you have nutrition problems
  • It is also possible in those individuals who are living in close quarters


Signs and Symptoms

A purple to red lump with tender may appear on areas of skin having hair follicles. The most common areas which can be easily affected by the boil is, where friction occurs or sweaty places like armpits, buttocks, neck, groin, face and shoulders. In response skin look reddish and swollen. As the time passes the centre of the lump becomes filled with pus which may be yellow or white, which can be easily seen which is a mixture of infection fighting white blood cells and bacteria.

Self-Care Guidelines

Apply warm compressors to the affected areas of your skin at least 3-4 times a day, it will help to get relieve against discomfort and also helps to drain the boil. If the drain starts out of the boil then wash off the drained area with antibacterial soap, and then cover it with triple antibiotic ointment and apply loose bandage over it. Repeat the same steps 2 to 3 times a day.

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In some cases the boils become contagious, so avoid sharing the daily used items such as towels, clothing, sporting equipments and bedding with other people. Wash hands with an antibacterial soap, it will help to avoid the spread of disease.
Apply genially anti-bacterial soap on boils prone surface and then dry your skin thoroughly after taking bath. Avoid those cloths which help in producing sweat.
When to Seek Medical Care

Use consultant if you find these conditions:

  • If you have multiple boils and if they grow in size as the time passes
  • If you are having a fever, severe pain, chills or other feelings which causes discomfort
  • If boils fail to drain out
  • If reddishness increases with the passage of time
  • If you have diabetes, problems related to immune system, murmuring of heart, or if you are taking medication for suppressing immune system after developing a boil.
  • If you have repeated boils outbreak


If you are taking medications to treat skin infections and the results are not fruitful then return to your consultant.

Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe

The best and first treatment which you can apply is to drain the pus thoroughly before the clearance of body for infection completely. If your drain doesn’t start by itself then consultant may apply the simple procedure to drain it out. In this simple procedure needle is used to prick the surface of the boils in this way pus is allowed to come out completely. After this the affected area is washed thoroughly to clean and bandaged, after this you will be sent home and need to follow the precautions like wash the affected area, use bacterial ointment and re-bandaged the area for at least 2 to 3 times in a day. Additionally you may be advice to take the medicines orally.

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To get information related to staph carriers the consultant take samples such as swab of pus and swab from other areas of the body as well for laboratory monitoring. If you are reported for staph carrier, then you are prescribed to get topical medications which are applied on the inner side of the nose or you may also take oral drugs for few days. This in turn rule out the possibilities of the spread of disease to others. Additionally it will help you to get rid of recurrent attacks of the boils. Always make sure that you have completed the course, so that you will get maximum benefit out of it.

If you are having recurrent attacks of boils then avoid visiting people, so that it is not spread to other communities and people nearby you become fully protected. It is cure able, so no need to worry a lot but use medicines to get rid of it completely, because it may give you an awkward look.  Additionally as these are known to grow in those areas where you have more sweat which results in severe pain so its care is necessary. These cannot be ruled out completely, because these may be caused by hormonal imbalance and as they arises in those areas where hair follicles are present so you can’t get rid of it, but you can cure it with proper medications. Always make sure that your body is clean completely so that you are at lowest risk of developing boils.

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