What are boils?
For detailed answers, visit what are boils page.
Do boils need to be drained to heal?
No. In fact, most boils should be left alone to heal as opening up the skin poses additional risk of infection. Warm water and salt can help to encourage draining when the boil is ready to release, but it should not be lanced without a proper medical practitioner.
When should I worry about boils?
Generally, boils are relatively harmless infections that occur from time to time. However, if a boil is unusually large, do not heal, or are on the face or the spine area, you may want to visit a medical expert for a consultation.
What should I do about recurrent boils?
For people with recurrent boils, there is usually a source of the problem that can be identified. This can be something as simple as poor hygiene practices or family history and susceptibility that is genetic. Patients with furunculosis often have a large number of staph bacteria on clothing or bed sheets, making them much more likely for re-infection. For these individuals, antibiotics may be recommended, so a visit to a medical expert is in order.
Are boils contagious?
Yes. Boils are caused by staphylococcus bacteria, and are in that sense, contagious. It is not uncommon for multiple members of the family to have a boil for this reason.
What is the difference between a boil and a carbuncle?
They are both abscesses filled with pus, due to an infection in the skin. Carbuncles are larger infections, often with multiple openings where pus can be seen. It can be seen as a collection of boils that form together. Carbuncles are often serious enough that they must be treated and drained by a medical professional.
How do boils occur?
Boils can be caused by a lot of things. Common causes include ingrown hair, acne, or cuts and scrapes. As the skin provides the first and basic form of defence against bacterial infection, when the skin is breached for any reason, the body immediately becomes more vulnerable to infections of any kind.
How can I prevent boils from occurring?
The truth is, anyone can get a boil, and the bacteria causing boils are so common that it can't be completely prevented. Generally, they are treated after the fact, if they are serious. Most of the time, they can be left o heal on their own.
Why do I keep getting boils?
People with a weakened immune system are more likely to develop boils (as well as other illnesses). Commonly associated illnesses are diabetes or kidney problems. Similarly, some people take immunsuppressing medications that purposely weaken the immune response in the body. Those patients may find that they are also more susceptible to infection.