Often painful and unsightly, boils are infections that originate in hair follicles or oil glands (read also what are boils). Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of the infection, but other types of bacteria or fungi can also lead to boils. Pain from a boil worsens when pus and dead tissue accumulate in the lump that develops. At this point, the boil begins to acquire the typical white color that many people recognize. Establishing an appropriate boils treatment plan starts with reviewing the symptoms.
Boils typically originate as reddish or pinkish lumps that are hard, sore, and occasionally itchy in the early stages. By the time pus has developed, the boils have usually become painful and feel like cysts. They also begin to soften as the pus forms. Several other symptoms are typical in people suffering from a boil.
- Crusting or oozing
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Feeling ill in general
Monitoring the symptoms is important in knowing when to pursue medical care. Some symptoms for boils can be addressed at home, but others are best left to medical professionals. Swollen lymph nodes, fever and severe pain are a few symptoms that warrant the help of a doctor. A boil that has persisted longer than two weeks is also a signal to seek the assistance of a medical expert.
Boils Treatment at Home
To heal properly, the boils usually need to open and drain. It is important, however, to avoid squeezing or lancing a boil at home because of the risk of inadvertently spreading the infection. In many cases, boils will eventually drain and then heal on their own. The right care at home can precipitate this, and it might ease a little of the discomfort. When boils do heal without intervention, it will typically happen within about two weeks.
Basic treatment entails warm, wet compresses applied several times daily. This can hasten the draining and healing of the boil. A few home remedies added to this treatment can also be effective in caring for a boil so that it can drain and heal.
- Tea tree oil has antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can relieve some of the discomfort from boils while speeding the healing process.
- A warm bread poultice can serve as a moist compress that reduces inflammation while it softens the boil for draining and healing.
- Neem, otherwise known as Indian lilac, has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Ground into a paste, it can also be effective in treating other types of skin infections.
- Black seed is another remedy that is ground into a paste for the treatment of skin infections, boils included.
- Over the counter boil medications generally have antibacterial ingredients and softening properties, much like the other home remedies for boils treatment.
Precautions need to be taken to prevent a spread of the infection while treating boils. Keeping the affected area clean is important, and it is a good idea to avoid sharing towels and washcloths. Use hot water when cleaning linens or items of clothing that have been exposed to the boils, and be certain to throw away used dressings in sealed bags. Antibacterial soap for washing is also beneficial.
Medical Treatments for Boils
If treatments and remedies at home fail to induce draining and subsequent healing, medical attention is advised. A doctor could lance the boil, and a culture may be taken to determine which type of bacteria caused it. A prescription of antibiotics may then be given in the case of severe infections. No matter the boils treatment plan that is chosen, however, regular cleaning and an application of antibiotic ointments will help with healing.