Are Boil Contagious – Some Facts

Boils are the result of a staph infection which is caused by the bacteria named staphylococcus aurous.

These bacteria can be present on the skin surface and even in the nasal passage of some people. As long as they are present outside the body they tend to be harmless. However, sometimes they get a chance to sneak into the skin through some cut, bruise or minor wound which has been left uncovered. Once they get within the human body they make it a breeding ground and start multiplying. It is at this juncture that they become infectious in nature.

The infection can spread amongst the members of a family if precautions are not taken. It does not spread through air but it can spread if a person uses a towel, napkin etc of the infected person. Hence it is advised to avoid sharing personal towels with others.

It is imperative that the person who suffers from boils should avoid touching the infected part. If he happens to touch it while applying some ointment, cream etc then he should wash his hands with an anti-bacterial soap.

Boils can spread due to negligence not just in the nearby regions but also to other people through contaminated items.

When the boils mature or get ripe they form a head. The accumulated pus gradually trickles out from the head and the boil gets drained. When this happens, whether naturally or while getting the boil lanced by a doctor, the pus has to be wiped off immediately.  Some preventive measures which should be taken due to the boils contagious nature are as follows:

  1. The infected area should be covered by a sterilized bandage. This will prevent the bacterial infection from spreading to other people.
  2. Touching the boils should be prevented especially when the boil is ready to suppurate. If a person happens to touch food after touching the boil with bare hands, then the staph bacteria can also lead to a food poisoning.
  3. Sharing personal of items such as towels, combs etc should be avoided.
  4. Razors should be used carefully as a minor cut can also lead to a bacterial infection.
  5. The pus which oozes out from the ripe boil should be dealt with carefully. Hands should be washed immediately with an anti-bacterial soap. The nearby skin should also be wiped with an anti-septic lotion because the pus contains the bacteria which are on the look out for new breeding grounds.
  6. Taking a shower is considered safe as compared to using a bath tub especially when the boil has erupted.
  7. Nose picking must be avoided because the staph bacterial form colonies in the nose of some people. The bacteria stick to the hands and contaminate the objects are touched by that hand.
  8. The antibiotic course prescribed by the general physician should be completed as this helps in controlling the spread of the infection.
  9. If the boils occur in the members of a family then they should get a bacterial culture done. This will help the doctor in understanding that which member is the actual carrier of the staph bacteria.
  10. Squeezing or pressing of the boils can not just spread the infection elsewhere on the skin but also spread it to the internal organs or the blood stream. Blood poisoning or septicemia can be fatal. Hence meddling with the boil should be avoided before it ripens. Once it softens, it can get drained naturally or surgically and kept clean and dry.

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