Boils, also known as skin abscesses or furuncles, are painful, pus-filled lumps that form on the surface of the skin. Boils can be as small as a pea or the size of a golf ball and can form on any part of the body. Usually caused by infection of the hair follicles or oil glands on the skin. Although often painful and unsightly, boils are not a serious problem and can be effectively treated at home.
Part 1 of 3: Treating Boils
Step 1. Warm compresses on the boil site
As soon as you notice a boil, you should immediately treat it with a warm compress. The sooner you start, the less likely it is that further complications will occur. Apply a warm compress by soaking a clean washcloth in hot water, then wring it out until the hot steam comes out. Gently press the washcloth on the boil site for five to ten minutes. Repeat three to four times a day.
- Warm compresses have a lot of effect in speeding up the treatment of boils. First, a warm compress will increase circulation around the site of the boil, helping to attract or transport antibodies and white blood cells to the site of infection. Second, it helps draw pus to the surface of the boil, encouraging it to drain out more quickly. Finally, a warm compress will help relieve pain.
- In addition to a warm compress, you can also soak the boil in warm water, if the location of the boil allows it to be soaked. For boils on the lower body, sitting in a tub filled with warm water can help.
Step 2. Do not puncture or pop the boil at home
As the boil begins to soften and fill with pus, you may be tempted to pop the boil with a needle and drain the boil yourself. However, this procedure is not recommended because it can cause the boil to become infected or the bacteria inside the boil to spread, causing other boils to occur. By continuously applying warm compresses to the boil site, the boil will burst and drain on its own in about two weeks.
Step 3. Wash the boil that has burst with antibacterial soap
When the boil starts to drain out, it is very important that you keep the area clean. Wash the boil thoroughly with antibacterial soap and warm water, until all the pus drains out. Once clean, dry the boil with a clean towel or tissue, which you should wash or throw away immediately after use, to prevent the spread of infection.
Step 4. Cover with antibacterial cream and bandage
Next, you should smear the boil with an antibacterial cream or ointment and cover it with a gauze bandage. The gauze allows the boil fluid to continue to drain out, so the gauze pads must be changed regularly. Antibacterial creams and ointments made specifically to treat boils are available over the counter at your local pharmacy.
Step 5. Continue to apply warm compresses until the boil is completely healed
When the boil has drained, you should continue to apply warm compresses, clean the area of the boil and its surroundings and then bandage it again until the boil is completely healed. As long as you are serious about keeping the boil area clean, there should be no complications, and the boil should heal within a week or two.
Be sure to wash your hands with antibacterial soap before and after touching the boil, to prevent the spread of infection
Step 6. See a doctor if the boil doesn't drain within two weeks, or becomes infected
In some cases, medical treatment is required to treat the boil, due to its size, location, or infection. The doctor will puncture / cut the boil, in his room or in the operating room. In this case, there may be some resistance to pus in the boil to drain out, or it may be in a difficult location such as the nose or ear canal. If the boil or the area around it becomes infected, you may be given an injection of antibiotics or a prescription to take. Conditions that require you to consult a medical professional or doctor are:
- If boils form on the face or back, inside the nose or ear canal or in the folds between the buttocks. Boils in this position can be very painful and difficult to treat at home.
- If the boil reappears in the same place. In some cases, treatment of recurrent boils in areas such as the groin and armpits will require excision of the sweat glands where inflammation persists in those areas causing the boils to occur.
- If the boil is followed by fever, red streaks coming out of the boil or redness and inflammation of the skin around the boil. These are all signs of infection.
- If you have an illness (such as cancer or diabetes) or are taking medical treatment that weakens your immune system or immune system. In this case, the body may not be able to fight off the infection that caused the boil.
- If the boil does not drain after two weeks of home treatment or if the boil is very painful.
Part 2 of 3: Preventing Boils
Step 1. Do not share towels, clothes or blankets with anyone who has boils
While boils themselves are not contagious, the bacteria that cause boils can be. That's why it's so important to be careful and avoid sharing towels, clothes or blankets worn by family members who have boils. These items should be washed after being used by an infected person.
Step 2. Adopt clean living habits
Clean living habits are probably the most important thing you can do to prevent boils. As boils are usually caused by bacteria infecting hair follicles on the skin, you should prevent the growth of bacteria on the surface of the skin by cleaning it every day. Regular soap will suffice, but if you tend to get boils easily, cleaning with an antibacterial soap will do much better.
You can also use a scrubbing brush or sponge, such as a loofah, to scrub the skin. To dissolve the oil that clogs around the hair follicles on the skin
Step 3. Clean all wounds immediately and thoroughly
Bacteria can easily enter the body through cuts in the skin. These bacteria can pass through the hair follicles and then cause infection and the formation of boils. To avoid this, make sure to clean all minor cuts and rub with antibacterial soap, apply cream or ointment, and cover with a bandage until it heals.
Step 4. Avoid sitting for long periods of time
Ulcers that form between the buttocks, also known as “pilonidal cysts”, usually form as a result of direct pressure from sitting for long periods of time. These ulcers are common in truck drivers and people who have recently traveled / long flights. Whenever possible, try to relieve pressure by taking frequent breaks to relax your legs.
Part 3 of 3: Using Home Remedies
Step 1. Use tea tree oil
Tea tree is a natural antiseptic and is used in the treatment of various skin conditions, including boils. Simply apply a drop of tea tree oil directly on the boil once a day, using a cotton bud.
Step 2. Try the English salt
English salt is a drying agent that can help boil boils. To use it, dissolve English salt in warm water, then use this solution as water for a warm compress on the boil site. Repeat three times a day until the boil starts to drain out.
Step 3. Try turmeric
Turmeric or turmeric is a spice originating from India, which has a very good anti-inflammatory function. Turmeric also works as a blood purifier. Turmeric can be taken orally in capsule form, or it can be mixed with a little water to make a paste and then applied directly to boils. Be sure to cover the boil with a bandage afterwards, as turmeric can stain clothes.
Step 4. Apply colloidal silver cream
Colloidal silver is a natural disinfectant that has been used successfully in home remedies for boils. Just apply a small amount of cream directly on the boil twice a day.
Step 5. Use apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can be used to clear the infection from boils as they begin to drain. Dip a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and press gently on the boil site. If you find it stinging a lot, mix apple cider vinegar with water to reduce the sting.
Step 6. Try castor oil
Castor oil is used in a variety of natural and medical treatments - including in chemotherapy for cancer patients. Castor oil is an effective anti-inflammatory that can be used to reduce swelling and pain in boils. Soak a cotton ball in castor oil and place it on the boil until it is completely covered. Wrap the cotton with a bandage or gauze. Change every few hours.