Boils is a skin infection resulting from impurities, fungal or bacterial attack or viral allergy. Boil originates in hair follicle or oil secreting gland and is common in face, neck, hands, shoulders, thighs and buttocks. Boils are common in hairy areas where sweating is maximum or friction is prevalent or both. When boil occurs, the skin turns red and itchy followed by lump or skin puffiness. After few days, the lump becomes whitish with passes developing underneath. Several days of such infection may lead to abscess or furuncle. Occurrence of multiple boils leading to severe infection in tissues is known as carbuncle. Carbuncles is a cluster of boils especially in neck area that causes a severe infection leaving behind a scar too. People suffering from the same may experience high fever, discomfort and chills.
Single boil occurring once in blue moon or rarely is not a concern of worry. It may be cured naturally or by simple home remedies; but in certain cases it is absolutely necessary to see a doctor for best result. The situations where medical consultation is absolutely necessary are:
- Boil appearing on face
- Painful and intensifying quickly
- More than 2 inches in length
- Recurring repeatedly
- Persisting for more than 2 weeks
Boils: Symptoms and Indications
Any boil initiates as a lump on the skin, hard and reddish. The lump tends to become swollen and itchy and gradually softens, increases in size and becomes severely painful. In this stage, pus also develops in the boil. During the course, skin encircling the boil becomes contagious, red, aching and puffed-up. Fever and uneasiness may follow and lymph nodes on and around the boil may be seen which eventually becomes scratchy and sensitive.Some people have a tendency to develop boils frequently. People with diabetes or high blood sugar level can develop boils. Someone who is on prolonged medication that disturbs the immunity system may develop boils, HIV victims and those suffering from acne, eczema and psoriasis or other skin problems may develop boils too. Severe pain, red streaks on skin, heart disorders and appetite loss are also some of the symptoms of boil.
Causes of Boils
Boils are caused by a specific bacteria called staphylococcus. Most boils are infectious and can lead to development of abscess. The bacterial germ can be air born and enter a normal skin through follicle. When the skin becomes contaminated with germs, the immunity system sends WBC to infected area to kill the bacteria hence developing the pus. It is the collective term given to dead bacteria, dead WBC and non-living skin.There are several causes of boils. Such as high blood sugar, poor immunity, nutrition, lack of hygiene and exposure to chemically active elements like lotions, moisturizers and creams.
Depending on the severity of the infection, one may go for medical consultation. Boils can be cured with antibiotics. However, doctors also conduct small surgeries by needle pricking to drain the pus. It is advisable not to squeeze the boil or to prick it with anything that is not sterilized. There are certain instructions to be followed for boils like;
- Keeping the boil affected area clean always by using a medicated soap
- Cleaning each and every skin wounds and bruises
- Sterilising with bandage
Home Remedies For Boils
Though medication and small surgeries are prevalent; home remedies for boils are best and yield the most significant results. Let’s glance at the few effective home remedies.
One can pull out the boil pus by warm washcloth compression. Just soak and dip a clean cloth in warm water with salt and place the warm wet cloth over the boil for 10-15 minutes. Depending on the rigorousness of the infection, repeat this procedure up to 6 times in a day.
Turmeric has lots of advantages. It is a natural antibiotic, a blood purifier and has lot of anti-inflammatory properties. All these merits help to treat and cure boils. Make a paste of fresh ginger and turmeric and apply externally on the boil or mix one table spoon of turmeric with warm milk or water and drink it. Both can be done up to 4-6 times in a day.
Castor oil helps to take out and kill the germ from boil most effectively. Put few drops of castor oil in a cotton ball and apply it over the boil directly.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree oil works as an antiseptic and works wonders on boils. Put few drop directly on boils. It is also effective to cure any type of skin problems. Never drink tea tree oil directly.
Onion also has anti-microbial and antiseptic attributes and works wonders on boil. Cut a thick slice of onion, wrap it with a cloth and put it on the boil, several times a day. The heat generated from the onion will cure the boil completely.
In one cup of warm milk, add some salt and when it thickens add flour or bread crumbs to make a thick paste. This paste is an age old home cure for boils. One can also add vinegar and turmeric to milk and get quick results.
Egg white along with its other dietary advantages is also an effective remedy for boils. Apply peeled boiled egg white with a cloth over the boil. It dries out if done for few days.
Garlic can be used to cure boils either directly by garlic cloves paste or whole cloves and putting it directly over the boil.
Crushed cumin seeds when added with water and applied on boils- show significant results in a quicker time span.
Boils can be cured and recurrence can be prevented if the food intake is monitored and guided properly. Few dietary remedies for boils are;
- Leafy vegetables and fresh fruits
- Citrus fruit juices mixed with water
- Zinc rich foods
- Avoid too much of sugar and fat
- Do not overcook vegetables
- Avoid caffeine and caffeine products
- Foods rich in Vitamin A and E