Boil Furuncle- its Causes, Characteristics and Treatment

A furuncle is a staph infection in which the sebaceous glands get affected. It is a deep-seated infection in which the hair follicle gets destroyed completely.

There are different types of furuncles such as mole cricket furuncle, tipped furuncle etc.

Boil furuncle can develop as a result of bacterial invasion into the skin through microscopic openings, minor cuts on the skin etc. Some times foreign particles such as splinters may get inside the skin. These objects may be infected with germs.

Besides the external reasons there are some other factors which cause furuncles. They include obesity, diabetes, blood impurities and steroid medicines

In diabetic people the staph bacteria are present in the nasal chambers. They tend to colonize there. Such bacterial colonies are not harmful to the humans. However, if the bacteria get an opportunity to invade the body they start breeding within.

The main causes of furuncles are:

  1. The bacteria named Staphylococcus aurous.
  2. Macerated skin
  3. Unhygienic environment.
  4. High intake of carbohydrates such as mangoes during monsoons which bring about mango boils.
  5. Weak immune system.

The symptoms of the boil furuncle include appearance of a reddened itchy area where a tender nodule develops. This nodule becomes large after some time. When the infection reaches its peak the boil becomes whitish in color due to the presence of pus. This happens when the body sends the white blood cells to the infected region to destroy the germs. The pus which forms when the boil furuncle is ready to suppurate consists of the white blood cells, bacteria and the dead skin tissues. Gradually the bacteria get defeated. By this time the boil ripens and forms a pustule or a head. After this the boil discharges the pus and gets healed.

Mild boils get healed naturally by the defense system of the body. They appear, mature, discharge pus and wither away. Hence there is no need for any treatment. However, in some cases where the infection is severe, the boils take a long time to form a pustule. Severe furuncles are treated with antibiotics such as cephalexin.

In case of a severe furuncle the treatment includes:

  1. Lancing or surgical drainage of the boil after it has ripened.
  2. A course of broad-spectrum antibiotics are prescribed.
  3. Bacterial culture is done to identify the root-cause of the infection.
  4. Keeping the infected region clean by using antiseptic lotions.

Furuncles can be prevented by following these methods:

  1. Fatty food, sugars and processed food should be replaced with a well balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients. A healthy diet builds up the immune system.
  2. Sulphur spring baths and sun bathing is an effective method of curbing boils.

Furuncles can be healed faster by using poultices. These poultices help the boils to suppurate faster.

The most effective and time-tested method of treating painful boils is that of hydrotherapy. This can be done in two ways. A strip of cloth is placed over the boil after being soaked in hot water and being wringed out. This has to be done a few times daily. The other method is that of hot and cold compression in which the hot water strip is followed by an icy cold cloth which has been dipped in cold water. This hot and cold compression given in an alternate way helps the boil form a head and heal quickly.

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