Boils occur on the skin mostly as a result of staph infection. They are the outcome of the defense mechanism of the body to ward off the bacterial infection. The infected area on the skin becomes tender, red and itchy. Gradually pustules appear on the skin which grows in size. The defense of the body swings into action and sends white blood cells to fight off the bacteria. The body tries to purge itself of the bacteria in this way. Pus is formed in the boil which gets drained after the boil forms a head. Thus, the bacteria along with the dead skin tissues get removed from the body with the pus.
The folliculitis is the infection of the hair follicle only but the deep-seated boils infect the subcutaneous tissue as well.
Boils require an immediate medical attention in the following cases:
• Boils are large and throbbing.
• They do not get cured in spite of treating them at home for a week or so.
• They accompany fever and chills.
• They are surrounded by red streaks.
• They appear in diabetic people.
In such cases they may be a sign of some other root cause which might be triggering boils. A bacterial culture is done immediately by the doctor to get to the root of the problem. If the boils are found to be caused by MRSA then the matters is of grave concern. The MRSA is resistant to several antibiotics. The doctor has to decide which antibiotic would be suitable to treat it.
One has to be careful in treating those boils which occur near the nose or lips. Accidentally biting the lips may result in the infection from the boil entering the body. The bacterial infection which enters the internal organs or the blood stream may lead to blood poisoning and life threatening situations.
Some of the systemic problems caused by boils include:
• Septicemia or the infection of blood. This may cause infection in the vital internal organs such as the lungs, heart etc as well as cause fever and chills.
• Osteomyelitis or bone infection.
• Endocarditis which is a bacterial inflammation of the heart or its valves.
• Abscess in vital organs such as the heart, lungs etc. and other regions of the skin.
The infection from the boil may lead to drastic consequences if the deep-seated boils are squeezed and tampered with, in such a way the infection spreads to internal organs. Sometimes the boils, if not drained completely, may be re-absorbed into the blood. The bacteria can create havoc when it reaches up to vital organs and bloodstream.
The mild boils such as folliculitis can be treated at home easily. Remedies for boils in this case includes compression is the easiest way to help a boil to form a head or pustule. The boil quickly gets ripe due to the heat applied to it and discharges the pus. An important thing to be kept in mind while handling boils is that they are contagious. Hence, they should not be touched or squeezed lest the infection spreads to the other parts. The staph bacteria need a medium to spread. If touched by hand, they cling on the hands and spread to some other part. Supplements of minerals and vitamins should be taken to strengthen one’s immunity. Antibacterial soaps should be preferred to the scented and colored ones.
Remedies for boils if they are deep-seated ones would include a complete medical examination. This helps in controlling them before the matters gets out of hands. The doctor lances the boil with a minor surgery if it has ripened. The infected area is numbed by local anesthesia. With the help of a scalpel, the doctor makes a cut on the skin. This makes the boil release its pus. The wound is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and covered with a bandage. It takes some time after draining for the boil to dry.
The bacterial culture helps establish the actual cause. Antibiotics, both topical and oral are prescribed by the doctors according to the severity of the infection. Remedies for boils which are recurrent include maintaining hygiene, applying some ointment as advised by the physician inside the nasal chamber where the colonization of the staph bacteria occurs and by strengthening one’s immunity.