Skin boils appear as large-sized pimples that are filled with pus. The boils can grow up to the size of a corn kernel or even grow bigger up to the size of a golf ball. Oftentimes, they are warmer than the surrounding skin. The boils form from skin infected by MRSA, staphylococcus aureus or group A streptococcus.
When a family member has a skin boil, the ideal way to avoid one is to stay clean. Always wash hands regularly using soap and warm water. In case you could not wash hands for some reason, you can utilize an antibacterial hand cleaner. Avoid sharing bedding, clothes, washcloths and towels with those who have boils.
How to care for skin boils
The development of skin boils simply indicates that there is an infection. The key is to allow skin boils to heal and avoid making it worse. The boil develops increasing pressure until it breaks and drains out pus.
It must heal after that and there are measures that you can do to encourage skin boils to heal as well as things that must be avoided that can make the condition worse.
What are the dos?
- You have to maintain the cleanliness of the skin boils. The immune system should concentrate on the present infection. The presence of more bacteria can disrupt with the main aim to fight off the infection. You can utilize any soap to keep the affected area clean.
- Skin boils must be covered or wrapped using dry, clean dressings to contain any drainage. Remember that boils are sources of bacteria and can easily spread to other areas. The dressing should be changed regularly especially if the boil is oozing. The soiled dressing must be properly discarded by sealing them in a bag first.
- Always wash hands regularly. In case you came in contact with the boil or changed dressing, wash hands after using soap and warm soap.
- Apply a moist, warm cloth over the boil. Heat works by promoting the formation of pus and can help the boil break, drain and eventually heal. Place the warm compress on the boil several times throughout the day. Take note that you should use each cloth only once and then wash under hot water.
What are the don’ts?
- Do not pop or slice open skin boils. The boils should drain and most burst and drain on their own. Oftentimes, the doctor might lance it so that it will drain and allow the healing to start.
- Do not share clothes, bedding, towels and washcloths. Any contaminated object such as towels, bedding and clothing must be washed under very hot water.
When to consult a doctor
Skin boils that develop on the face, close to the spine or around the eye requires further assessment by a doctor. Remember that boils typically heal in a few weeks. If the healing does not start by the initial week, it is best to set an appointment with a doctor.
If several boils either in groups occur or develop one after another, presence of red-colored streaks from the boil or symptoms such as fever or chills develop, a doctor should be consulted or bring the individual to the nearest healthcare facility.