A boil is tiny elevated inflamed skin lesion caused by staphylococcus bacteria. Everyone is familiar with this skin condition. A boil appears at the root of hair follicle or blocked oil gland. Staphylococcus bacteria is often present on skin surface but do not harm until it penetrates the skin, gaining access through hair follicle, sweat glands, or a break in the surface of skin due to a cut, scratch, or a punctured wound.
In the beginning this tiny bump is red, warm and painful. Within few days it becomes firm, hard and tender.Boils are highly contagious. There can be conglomeration of boils called carbuncle or a single boil which is also called a furuncle. Due to body’s reaction, the infection is confined to a limited area and pus accumulates at its center.
Boils commonly occur on the neck, armpits, breast, face and buttocks; but it can develop on any part of the skin. Clusters of boils get together to form carbuncle, it is deeper than boils. Carbuncles are more serious than boils and they generally occur in males as well as diabetic patients at the nape of neck.This skin condition is generally not serious and can be treated with home remedies.
Signs & Symptoms Of Boils On The Skin
A boil can develop on any part of the skin surface, but it prominently occurs on face, neck, buttocks, armpits, and thighs. Boils generally occur in hairy areas and where there is more skin friction. Boils develop as painful, red and warm lumps at the base of hair follicle on skin surface. In the beginning a boil or a furuncle is tiny but as days pass, the boil gets enlarged in size.
A boil can be as tiny as pinhead or it can enlarge to the size of a marble. Soon it becomes hard and tender to touch. After few days pus forms and at one point it comes to its head and breaks open. The pus drains out. Pain gets reduced once the pus is drained out. Usually a boil heals without any scars unless it is large and deep seated.
When cluster of boils coalesce together it results in a condition called carbuncle. It is produced by the same type of bacteria. However, carbuncles affect deeper tissues. They are more common on the nape of neck or on thighs and armpits. Carbuncles are more serious than a boil. It is accompanied with fever and general feeling of weakness. They too are painful as boils.
What Causes Boils On The Body?
As mentioned earlier the causative organism for boils is staphylococcus aureus. Furunculosis is more prevalent in tropical countries, especially in summer season. Normally staphylococcus is present on skin surface without causing any harm. It is when it penetrates inside the skin, it produces boils and furuncles.
The germs may enter trough ingrown hair, cuts and bruises, damaged hair follicle, a puncture by pin or tack etc. Other precipitating factors responsible for boils are; low immune level, diabetes, chronic nephritis, friction and chaffing of skin, oily and dusty occupation, diseases such as scabies, poor general health, iron deficiency anemia etc.
Natural Home Remedies For Treating Boils
Though boils are not a serious problem, but the patient should always consult a physician when they develop on nose and upper lip, because in these areas there is an easier access route for the bacteria to get an entry into the brain.
Both boils and carbuncles respond very well to antibiotics, warm fomentation, incision and drainage. However, do not ever squeeze a boil. This will allow the germs to enter in deeper layer and into the blood stream causing blood poisoning and risk of abscess formation.
If the boil is small and if it is not on your nose or on the lip, it is usually safe for you to try home remedies.
- Diet: Cut down carbohydrate and fats from your diet. Add extra amount of protein, vegetables and fruits in your regular diet.
- Wheat flour: Boil half a cup of water and add wheat flour to it until it becomes thick paste. Apply the prepared paste over the boil and wrap it with sterile gauze. Repeat it two to three times in a day. Within two days the boil will mature and break. The pus will be discharged and patient will find relief from pain.
- Garlic juice: Apply garlic juice on the surface of boil. You can also apply paste prepared from garlic cloves. Applying it for one or two days over a boil will make the boil mature early and facilitate easy drainage of pus.
- Onions: Onions are applied as poultice to boils. It brings the boil to early maturity by its irritant action.
- Milk and turmeric: Prepare a poultice by mixing a pinch of turmeric powder, milk cream and few drops of vinegar. Apply the poultice over the boil to bring it to a head.
- Control diabetes: If you are diabetic patient, it is necessary to control your diabetes with proper prescribed medication.