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Boils also called furuncles are a deep bacterial infection of hair follicles and near by skin mostly caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Boils are painful, pus-filled bumps that form under your skin when bacterial infect and inflame one or more hair follicles.

Boils can occur anywhere on your skin, but appear mainly on your face, neck, armpits, buttocks or thighs — hair-bearing areas where you're most likely to sweat or experience friction. They generally start as red, tender lumps which fill with pus with no delay making it grow larger and more painful until they rupture and drain.


Risk factors

Certain health problems make people more susceptible to boils. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Diabetes mellitus

  • problems with the immune system,

  • poor nutrition

  • poor hygiene,

  • exposure to harsh chemicals that irritate the skin;

  • infection with community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), and intravenous drug use.




  • A painful, red bump about the size of a pea, but may be as large as a golf ball

  • Red, swollen skin around the bump

  • An increase in the size of the bump over a few days as it fills with pus

  • Development of a yellow-white tip that eventually ruptures and allows the pus to drain out

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • General ill feeling

  • Itching before the boil develops

  • Skin redness around the boil

Home remedies

For simple boils home treatment is an option.

  • The primary home treatment for most boils is heat application, usually with hot soaks or warm compresses. Twenty minutes of hot application for three to four times a day may be required. Hot application increases blood flow to the affected area  and also allows migration of antibodies and white blood cells which fight off the infection to the site of infection. Furthermore, this will also decrease the pain and help draw the pus to the surface.

  • When the boil starts to drain, wash it with antibacterial soap until all pus goes away and clean with rubbing alcohol. Topical antibiotic and a bandage may be applied. Wash the infected area 2 or 3 times a day and apply warm compress until wound heals.

  • If a boil occurs as a result of shaving, it is recommended to avoid shaving until the boil has healed to inhibit spread of bacteria.

  • Never squeeze a boil or try to cut it open at home. This can spread the infection.


  • Follow a balanced healthy diet with meat, plenty of fruit and vegetables.

  • Wash your whole body once a day with soap or cleanser and water. Wash your hands several times daily or use antiseptic hand rubs.

  • Don't share your towel with other family members.

  • Maintain a clean handkerchief and don't pick your nose.

  • Change your underclothes and night attire regularly.

  • Consider modifying leisure activities that cause sweating and friction from clothing, such as squash and jogging.

  • If you are iron deficient, a course of iron tablets may help reduce infection.

  • Carefully wash clothes, bedding, and towels of a family member who is infected with boils.

  • Clean and treat minor skin wounds.

  • Stay as healthy as possible.


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