A boil or furuncle is a skin infection that often starts in the skin’s oil gland or hair follicle. It begins as a noticeable red spot at the infected area where a lump develops. After a few days, the infected area will start to turn into white color as puss under the skin starts to form. Boils are commonly caused by a germ or bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus, which can infect the face, arms, shoulders, buttocks and chest.
Carbuncle occurs when a group of boils develop due to the infection of a group of follicle that are near to each other. Carbuncle is often referred to as group of boils. Furthermore, chronic furunculosis is a medical condition wherein a group of boils continuously develop or reoccur over a long period of time. .
Anyone can develop boils, but often occur in teenagers and young adults. Although also susceptible, children have lesser risk of developing one.
Boils can develop even on healthy skin. However, skin that is exposed to unclean surroundings and often sweats is more likely to be infected by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Carbuncle or group of boils is most likely to occur in the back of the neck and thighs. Below are the most common causes of boil infection. .
• Wound that is not treated properly and exposed to germs and bacteria
• Habit of scratching the skin ( which may be due to other skin conditions like eczema, allergies, insect bites and scabies) which may cause damage and open pores
• Weak immune system that makes you susceptible to infections
• you are not aware that you are a carrier of Staphylococcus aureus germ
• poor hygiene and nutrition
• improper diet
• your skin is often exposed to harsh chemicals that can lead to irritation and infection
• drug use
• close contact to people infected with Staphylococcus aureus
• poor hygiene and nutrition
• extremely overweight
• sharing of things with carrier of Staphylococcus aureus
A boil will give extreme pain after a few days from developing as more puss starts to collect under the infected area. After a week or so, the boil will burst and the puss will leak out of the skin. Less pain will be experienced while the swelling goes down and the wound starts to heal. A permanent mark or scar can be left.
Boils are contagious through skin to skin contact with an infected person or sharing of objects that are contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. If you suspect an infected person, it is advised to make that person cover the infected area to avoid spreading the germs and refrain any form of interaction. Below are some of the most common symptoms of boils. .
• Noticeable red and swollen skin around the infected area
• Painful sensation on the affected area
• Fever that can be on and off
• Puss formation
• Crusting of the skin
More often than not, a boil will heal without the need of any special medication or surgery. However, for boils that give more serious symptoms, a visit to the doctor is a must. These symptoms include:
• Continuous fever
• Boil does not heal
• More boils start to appear
• Pain becomes extremely painful
• Having other medical issues that can affect the immune system like diabetes
• Experiencing constant high chills
For more serious cases of boil infections, antibiotics may be prescribed to avoid further infection and contamination.
Natural Home Remedies to Treat Boils
Although it often causes severe pain and swelling, a boil can be treated naturally. Instead of trying to pop out the puss which can leave a permanent mark or develop further infection, try these natural remedies that can be easily done at home.
1. Corn flour
In the early times, the Cherokee Indians used corn flour to treat many skin infections including boils. Although it does not provide proven medicinal properties, corn flour can effectively absorb the puss around the infected area, thus minimizing the risk of infection. .
Boil one half cup of corn flour with one cup of water. Stir well and wait for 10 minutes to cool. Apply liberally on the affected area and cover with a clean cloth. Repeat 4 to 5 times a day until the boil bursts.
Turmeric is regarded for its healing properties, which are used to treat various skin disease. In addition, turmeric is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties which are perfect to minimize swelling and reduce the chance of contamination. Turmeric also promotes faster wound healing. .
Prepare turmeric cream by mixing 1 teaspoon if turmeric with 2 teaspoons of water. Mix well until a creamy paste is achieved. Apply directly to the affected area every 4 hours to help the boil burst on its own. You can also directly consume turmeric. Mix 1 teaspoon with one glass of lukewarm water. Drink 3 times a day – morning, noon and before going to bed. Add a teaspoon of honey to improve taste.
3. Epsom Salts
Epsom salt effectively heals boils by absorbing moisture in the affected area, thus promoting faster healing. In addition, this salt is loaded with anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties that prevent further infection and minimize pain and swelling. .
Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 2 teaspoons of water. Stir well until paste is formed. Apply directly to the infected area 3 to 5 times a day. Use bandage or soft cloth to cover the area. Doing this will kill the germs and help draw out puss more quickly.
4. Warm Compress
Instead of forcefully pushing out puss from the infected area, a more effective and safe alternative is to use warm compress. Fill a compress bag with medium hot water and apply to the affected area for 10 minutes. To add more healing power, add a teaspoon of Epsom or regular salt to the compress. Repeat 5 to 6 times a day until swelling decreases.
5. Proper Hygiene and Balanced Diet
To avoid developing boils, proper hygiene is a must. Aside from taking a thorough bath daily, washing your hands before and after meals is also important. Changing clothes especially after tiring and sweaty activities such as gym training is also crucial. In addition, make sure to use clothes that are not too tight and allow the skin to breathe. Pressure and friction from too tight clothing can lead to boil formation. .
A balanced diet is also an effective way to avoid boil infection. Avoid foods that contain too much sugar and fat. Regularly eat fruits and vegetable that provide loads of vitamins, minerals and fiber to boost your immune system. Supplements such as vitamin c and e are also highly recommended.
Aside from providing nutrients, milk is also loaded with natural healing properties which make it an effective treatment for boils. .
Heat 1 cup of milk with a teaspoon of salt. Stir continuously until a creamy paste is achieved. You can add some flour to make a more consistent texture. Apply liberally to the affected area and leave for 2 to 3 hours. Repeat application 5 to 7 times daily. .
Drinking milk during breakfast and before going to bed will also promote faster boil healing. Add 1 teaspoon of honey and ½ teaspoon of turmeric to 1 glass of milk.
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