as red and swollen
with a pus pocket
visible at its center.
is an infection that begins deep within the skin. A boil,
also known as a skin abscess can become swollen and painful.
Boils appear as a firm raised area on the skin. They often
appear red and are sore. They may feel hard like a small lump
can appear on any part of the body but are often found on
the back, face, shoulders and thighs. Like a big pimple, a boil fills with pus
and when it is ready to drain a white or yellow point in the
center of the boil will be visible.
can be caused by an ingrown hair or a clogged sebaceous (sweat)
gland. Boils are most often caused by a staph
infection, or a bacteria known as staphylococcus which
enters through a break in the skin. People with poor hygiene
are also often prone to boils. People who suffer from certain
health conditions such as diabetes,
impaired immune system, or malnutrition may also be susceptible.
Boil symptoms and treatment
of a boil include redness around the affected site. The area
is sore and tender and many contain slight swelling at the
site of the boil. Some people experience itching of the skin
before the boil actually appears. The boil remains painful
until the pus is drained.
may be treated by applying warm compresses to the area or
soaking the affected area in warm water to encourage it to
drain on its own. The warmth helps the body to fight infection
and increases circulation. The warm water can also help to
sooth the area and alleviate pain. To ensure against infection,
boils may also be treated with over-the-counter antibiotic
ointments like Bacitracin or Neosporin.
When to see a doctor
see your health care provider if the boil is large, doesn't
drain on its own, or seems to get worse. If redness or swelling
increases seek medical attention. Prescription antibiotics
may be needed for the infection. A boil may need to be lanced
and drained. The physician will numb the site of the boil
with a local anesthetic and make an incision in the boil so
that it can be drained. The area is then covered with gauze
and allowed to heal. Once it has been drained the area will
become less painful. If an antibiotic is prescribed, be sure
to finish all of the medication to prevent re-occurrence.