Boil or furuncle is a skin disease caused by the inflammation of hair follicles, thus resulting in the localized accumulation of pus and dead tissues. Individual boils can cluster together and form an interconnected network of boils called carbuncles. In severe cases, boils may develop to form abscesses. more...
The symptoms of boils are red, pus-filled lumps that are tender, warm, and/or painful. A yellow or white point at the center of the lump can be seen when the boil is ready to drain or discharge pus. In a severe infection, multiple boils may develop and the patient may experience fever and swollen lymph nodes. A recurring boil is called chronic furunculosis.
In some people, itching may develop before the lumps begin to develop. Boils are most often found on the back, underarms, shoulders, face and buttocks.
Boils are generally caused by an infection of the hair follicles by Staphylococcus aureus or staph, a strain of bacteria that normally live on the skin surface. It is thought that a tiny cut of the skin allows this bacteria to enter the follicles and cause an infection. This can happen during bathing while using a razor.
People with immune system disorders, diabetes, poor hygiene and malnutrition (Vitamin A or E deficiency) are particularly susceptible to getting boils. However they may also occur in healthy, hygienic individuals.
Hidradenitis suppurativa causes frequent boils.
Most boils run their course within 4 to 10 days. For most people, self-care by applying a warm compress or soaking the boil in warm water can help alleviate the pain and hasten draining of the pus (colloquially called "bringing the boil to a head"). Once the boil drains, the area should be washed with antibacterial soap and bandaged well.
For reoccuring cases, supplement your diet with Vitamin A and E.
For serious cases, prescription oral and topical antibiotics may be required.
For most cases, the prognosis is excellent and full recovery is expected.
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