Boil

April 2017


Definition


A boil, also called acute folliculitis, is a skin infection located at the base of a follicle. It is caused by bacteria of the staphylococcus aureus family. It is the inflammation of the follicle following a bacterial infection that produces a lesion that lasts a few days and ultimately produces an accumulation of pus. A boil can be very painful. It is usually located on an area where there is much friction, such as:
  • the buttocks;
  • the shoulders;
  • the back;
  • the underarms;
  • the face;
  • the pubis;
  • the thighs.

Many boils that are located close together are called carbuncles.
The repeated appearance of boils can point to an immunodeficiency or to diabetes, and is called furunculosis.

Symptoms


A boil has the appearance of a yellow pimple with a red and inflamed outline. In general, the area is painful and can feel hot to the touch. It presents itself as a lump around a hair, with hardening at the base and with a gradually elimination the follicle, leaving behind a small red hole.

Diagnosis


The diagnosis is made after clinical examination and usually requires no further consideration. The doctor or dermatologist examines the damage done by the boil. A local biopsy may also in rare cases be taken. This analysis confirms the presence of staphylococcus aureus.

Treatment


A boil must not be touched by the patient. The treatment is always adapted to the seriousness of the boil. The most mundane form will disappear in a week with treatment. This includes, at the least:
  • local antiseptic care;
  • Regular application of compresses soaked in hot water;
  • antibiotic ointment.

Prevention


It is important to prevent the recurrence of a boil. Anyone who is a staph carrier must:
  • Wear cotton underwear and clothes that aren't too tight;
  • have good hygiene (face, body and hair);
  • Keep his nails short;
  • Wash his hands regularly throughout the day with a special soap.

These preventive measures are applicable to the person's close ones.

Related

Published by Jeff. Latest update on June 10, 2013 at 06:30 AM by Jeff.
This document, titled "Boil," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (health.ccm.net).