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A boil or a skin abscess is a type of bacterial skin infection that leads to formation of a pus-filled red bump on the skin. It usually starts in an oil gland or a hair follicle on the face, the armpits, the neck or the shoulders. If a cluster of boils appears, it is called a carbuncle and this is a more severe infection than a boil. However, most boils are caused by minor infection and can be healed with simple treatment at home. Listed below are the various ways to deal with a boil:
- Boils are not entirely preventable but normal daily hygiene can reduce the frequency of the occurrence of boils.
- When you notice a boil formation, you should apply a hot compress on it. The heat helps to prevent the formation of too much pus by helping it drain faster. When the blood circulation to the area is improved by the heat, the antibodies help to draw out the germs.
- The boil usually drains on its own. You may try draining it yourself but only when it is soft. Poking a hard boil can be extremely painful; it may bleed and make the infection worse. It is usually best to let it drain by itself.
- When the boil starts draining, you can clean the infected area with an antibacterial soap daily till the boil is drained and flattened. You may clean it with some rubbing alcohol in order to prevent the germs in the pus from spreading to other areas of the body.
- The infected area can be kept covered with sterile gauze coated with antibiotic ointment.
- Penicillin-based antibiotics can be used to treat the boil but only if it is a severe infection.
- 7. If the boil is excessively painful, you can use pain relievers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.
- Avoid sitting in one particular position for too long because this increases the pain.
- It is important to wash your hands every time you touch the draining boil because the bacteria is extremely contagious and can spread to other areas of your skin as well as to other people.
- All the articles which have been used to treat the boils like the gauze, cloth, cotton and hot compress should either be discarded or disinfected to avoid spreading of the infection.