A boil infection is also called staph infection because it is caused by the bacteria called Staphylococcus aurous. These bacteria are mostly found in the nasal passages of people. If they are found on the skin, they cannot cause any harm. However, if a rash or cut causes broken skin, then these bacteria get a chance to slip in. They get deposited in the hair follicle and start multiplying there. They start an infection which may lead to the formation of boils on the skin.
Since this infection is contagious, it spreads easily.
In kids, this infection spreads through dirty nails, hands etc. Hence, it is important to keep ones hands clean. Moreover, the parts on the skin which has rashes, cuts, abrasions etc should be cleaned thoroughly and covered.
Boil infection has different medical names depending on its nature and degree.
Folliculitis refers to the infection in the hair follicle. Shaving, over scratching etc may cause folliculitis. Although folliculitis is not a boil infection, yet it is also an infection of the hair follicle like skin boils. This infection forms pus filled pimple, which are external in nature as compared to boils. In certain cases, this infection can gradually develop into a boil.
A furuncle is a skin abscess which affects a hair follicle and the nearby tissue. They are commonly found on the neck, face and hips.
They appear as a pustule which discharges necrotic tissue and pus.
Another type of boil infection is the carbuncle which is a conglomeration of furuncles. These staph infections develop pus filled pockets under the skin. Carbuncles are common amongst aged people and look like a collection of interlinked boils.
A sty is a boil which results from an infection which forms in the hair of the eye lashes. It creates a blockage in the hair follicle making it swollen and quite painful to touch.
Pilonidal cyst is also a boil infection which occurs on the cleft of the hips. It results due to long journeys where people have to sit for long hours. It can be quite painful and has to be lanced out by a minor surgery.
Cystic acne is a severe type of acne which are quite complex and are accompanied by chills and fever. It is advisable to have a bacterial culture done so that the physician can prescribe an apt antibiotic for cure.
Pimples are skin inflammations which are caused by clogged skin pores. If they become recurrent, they are referred to as acne.
Hydradenitis suppurativa is a boil which develops skin inflammation below the skin called cellulite. They occur due to heat, stress and sweat. They result in boils in the armpit region.
Boil infection can be caused by a number of factors.
- A weak immune system triggers boils.
- Diabetics are prone to developing boils.
- Devitalized health condition due to the absence of a balanced diet also leads to boils.
- An ingrown hair causes boils because the hair curls and penetrates into the skin. If its tip carries bacteria, then it would lead to a boil infection.
- If foreign objects like a dust particle, a minute wood piece or splinter enter the skin, they cause a strain. This leads to a boil.
- Some pills cause boils as a side effect.
- Allergies to certain food substances lead to boils.
- Boil infection is also caused by the blocking of the skin pores with creams; make up etc, thereby preventing the skin to breathe freely.