Boils are localized skin infections that start as reddened, gentle areas. With time, these areas become stiff and tender. Then the central part of the infected area becomes soft and full of white blood cells to fight the infection. The collection of these infection-fighting cells, proteins and germs is what is commonly referred to as pus. Over time, the pus will form a head, which may be operated or spontaneously drained out. The pus within the skin tissue is what is known as skin abscess. People with skin abscess are said to have boils.
It is important to also note that boils come in various types including furuncle, cystic, hidradenitis suppurativa, and pilonidal. These conditions are normally categorized according to where they normally attack most in the body. For instance, Cystic affects innermost skin tissues and that is why it is normally referred to as acne. Pilonidal on the other hand occurs in the buttocks’ fold. Hidradenitis suppurativa is a type of boil commonly found beneath the armpits. The problem with boils is that they can cause a major skin inflammation if they are not treated in good time. They can also cause you a lot of distress. It is thus imperative to learn a few essential aspects of this skin condition so that you may know how to deal with it. The most important things that you need to know about boils are causes, symptoms, remedies, prevention, and diet.
Causes of Boils
Boils can occur because of several reasons. Some are caused by ingrown hair, while others come as a result of foreign materials that may be lodged in your skin. Plugged sweat glands are also known to cause boils especially the ones associated with acne. The skin plays a major role in providing immune defense to the body. It also protects the body against microbes and other harmful materials from entering your body. However, if your skin is damaged for whatever reason, the injured part may develop into a boil in case it is infected with microbes such as bacteria.
Generally, boils are caused by an infected hair follicle. The question is: What causes the infection of hair follicles? This may happen due to various reasons.
- Chafing clothes
- Lack of essential nutrients such as vitamin A and E
- Menstrual periods
- Blocked or infected sweat glands
- Immune complications
- Overweight and more
You should therefore try your best to ensure that your skin and most importantly your hair follicles are not infected. It is also important to maintain proper hygiene since most skin infections are caused by poor sanitation.
Symptoms of Boils
Boils can occur anywhere on the skin, but in most cases they appear in area where there is growing hair and regular abrasion and sweat. Such places include neck, thighs, armpits, and buttocks. You may have a single boil or a cluster of them depending on the cause. In their initial stages, boils emerge as swollen, painful lumps. Over time, the boil will start to develop causing you a lot of discomfort. Of importance to note is the fact that boils may vary in size. Some boils will develop to large sizes while others will remain tiny. Another sign that you should look for in a boil is the yellowish pus that develops at the tip. Due to the intense pain and discomfort caused by boils, a lot of people end up squeezing the boil before it is fully developed. This is risky because it may cause other serious complications. You should always let the boil develop fully before you seek treatment. In fact, a fully developed boil will eventually burst open for the pus to drain. If you do not know how to treat boils, then make sure to seek help from a qualified medical expert.
Although there are several home based treatment methods that can help you to treat boils it is always advisable to seek doctor’s intervention when you notice one of the following conditions.
- Moderate or large boil which feels squashy and spongy
- Boil that appears on the face- such boils are in most cases signs of more serious complications.
- High body temperature
- Secondary infection
- Boil that resists home based treatment methods.
Boil Home Remedies
Boils are common skin conditions that can affect anybody irrespective of their age. So it is imperative that you learn how to prevent yourself from developing boils. The first thing you need to know is that boils may appear anywhere in your body especially where the skin is dirty or infected. It is always important to have your boils treated immediately. This will help in preventing the boils from developing into a serious medical problem. Remember that boils can cause a major skin inflammation if they are not properly attended to at the right time. Also, even though boils are not naturally dangerous they can cause you intense pain and distress. They can also become contagious and cost you more in terms of medication. The good thing is that with the right information you will be able to successfully treat your boils at home. The following are some of the important steps you should take when you are treating your boil.
In most cases, boils heal themselves in approximately two weeks. But most people cannot stand the pain and discomfort caused by boils for that long. Therefore, they end up squeezing it before it can develop fully. But the important thing you need to know is that boils can heal quickly with proper self-care. Medical experts argue that if a boil lasts for over two weeks, you should immediately see a doctor. These are some of the most effective home remedies that you can try to treat boils. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Moist heat– applying moist heat around the boil using a warm washcloth will help to improve blood circulation in the infected area and bring in more antibodies to speed up the healing process.
- Cover the infected area– medical research has proved that covering the affected part with a sterile bandage helps to reduce contamination. It also helps to prevent the infected area from being punctured fortuitously. A bandage is also important because it will absorb the pus in case the boil bursts open.
- Keep the infected area completely clean– doctors argue that once you realize you have a boil in your skin you should make sure that the infected area stays clean all the time. Washing it with an antibacterial soap will help to kill any microbes that might cause the infection to spread to other parts of the body.
- Drain the boil when it is fully developed– medical research has revealed that boils that are drained when they are still small and hard are likely to recur. So do not squeeze the ball when it is still developing even if it causes you pain. Once it has developed a pustule of the head, then it is all set to be drained. You should also avoid lancing it yourself because you might cause it to spread to other parts of the body.
- Avoid coming into contact with the pus from your boil because it is highly contagious. You should also not let anybody to touch the pus because they might also be infected. It is always advisable to let the draining be done by a medical professional. It will help you to avoid the infection spreading to other parts of you r body.
- Turmeric- Turmeric can be taken internally by someone having a boil. This helps in dissolving and healing a boil. It has blood purifying and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. The person with a boil should take a solution made of turmeric powder dissolved in warm water. It should be taken at least thrice per day. A paste of turmeric powder can also be applied on the boil. It is important to note that turmeric is capable of staining your clothes or skin. Therefore, be careful when using it.
- Castor oil- Castor oil applied directly on the boil can help in treating it. You just apply this oil on the boil using a cotton ball. Put some caster oil on the cotton then apply it gently on the boil. Caster oil acts by drawing poison from the boil. Nevertheless, you may have to secure it using a band aid or gauze. It can take even two days for caster oil to heal the boil.
- Epson salts- This is another effective herbal remedy for boils that has been used by many people and proven effective in treating boils. The active ingredient of this salt is the iodine. Baking soda also works in treating boils just like iodine in the salt.
- Tea tree- Oil from tea tree can help in healing a boil. Oil from this tree is a naturally available antiseptic. It heals a wide range of skin condition. One drop of oil from tea tree applied directly on the infected skin part in the morning or after a bath will help in healing the boil. It should be applied until the boil has healed completely.
Diet for Boils
Most boils will heal themselves after a while, but if they persist for over two weeks you must seek doctor’s intervention. Some medical experts have also devised several types of nutritional remedies that can help you treat boils. For instance, it is advisable that you maintain a cleansing diet. This may also include other detoxifying methods. Try your best to remove excess sugar from your system. You are also required to do away with refined foods or soft drinks because they tend to increase sugar in the body. Make sure to include fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet. Then drink enough clean water.
Prevention of Boils
Boils are known to be highly contagious. They can easily spread to other parts of the body if they are not handled with care. But instead of struggling to treat boils, it is important that you learn how to prevent them. For instance, you are not supposed to open, drain or squeeze your boil while it is still small and hard. Doing so will cause the infection to spread deeper and to other parts of the body. You are also encouraged to keep your skin thoroughly clean all the time. Maintain a healthy diet and ensure that your body sugars are on the right levels. You must also use disinfectant soaps to wash your body.
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