Skin Infections And Boils

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Skin Infections And Boils

Understanding A Boil:

Skin infections are a common disease that patients can suffer from. Out of the many skin problems that can be faced, boils are the most common. In simple terms, a boil is a skin infection that starts in a hair follicle or oil gland. In the initial stages, the skin of a patient will turn red in the area of the infection, followed by a tender lump being developed. Post this, over a period of four to seven days, the tender lump will begin to change colour, turning white, as pus collects under the skin.

Boils are most commonly faced around the face, neck, armpits, shoulders, and buttocks. It should be noted that when a boil develops on the eyelid, it is known as a sty. While most types of boils form singularly, several boils can also appear in a group, indicating a more serious type of infection called a carbuncle.

What Causes Boils?

For the most part, boils on skin are caused by a germ called staphylococcal bacteria. This germ is known to enters the body either through small cuts on the skin or by traveling down the hair to the follicle.

While boils can affect anyone, patients with the following health problems are more susceptible to skin infections. These conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor hygiene
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals that irritate the skin

Common Symptoms of Boils

The formation of the boil itself is the most noticeable symptom of a boil. This skin infection begins as a hard, red, painful lump, which is usually about half an inch in size. Over a period of four to seven days, the skin boil will become softer, larger, and more painful.

During this period, a pocket of pus will also form on the top of the boil. While most boils fade away on their own, there are certain skin infections that can be far more severe. The common symptoms of a severe infection include:

  • The skin around the boil becoming infected, and turning red, painful, warm, and swollen.
  • More instances of boils appearing around the original one.
  • The onset of a fever
  • The lymph nodes beginning to swell.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Boils:

In cases where a severe infection may be suspected, your doctor may suggest that the diagnosis begin with a physical examination. Boils can occur in almost any part of the body, making it essential that your doctor thoroughly study the potential of this skin infection spreading, or affecting any other part of your body.

There are a number of treatments for boils available. In case of a minor infection, you can look in for home remedies for this skin infection, which will include:

  • Regularly apply warm compresses so that you can soak the boil in warm water. This will not only be able to decrease the pain felt, but will also result in the pus being drawn to the surface. In most cases, when the pus comes to the surface of the skin, it will burst with repeated soakings. In most instances, this will occur within 10 days of the boil appearing.
  • Once the boil has burst, it is important to wash the site of the skin infection with an antibacterial soap until all the pus is gone, and then procced to clean the area with a disinfectant, like alcohol. You should then aim to apply a medicated ointment and bandage, which should be regularly changed. You should continue to clean the infected area regularly, at least twice or thrice a day, until the wound heals.

Medical Treatment for Boils:

If the infection being seen is serious, your doctor may suggest additional blood tests to correctly diagnose the problem. Once this is done, the medical expert may suggest that you start a round of antibiotics, in case the infection is severe. In extreme cases, the doctor may also be required to lance the boil itself. Post this, a culture of the drained pus may be done, to pinpoint the type of bacteria that is causing the infection, and also to determine if the right kind of antibiotics is being given for accurate treatment.

Once the boil is drained, it is necessary to constantly clean the infected area, until the wound is healed. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic ointment to be applied after washing the infected area, post which the wound should be covered with a bandage. If the infected area becomes to turn red, or showcases any other signs of continued infection, it is important that you get in touch with your doctor immediately.

The Apollo Clinic Experience:

At Apollo Clinic, we understand that skin infections can turn serious, and our team of experienced dermatologists are available around-the-clock, to help diagnose and treat your infection with minimal pain and problem. If you feel that you are running a fever due to a boil infection, or are faced with severe pain, or a boil that doesn’t drain properly, please get in touch with one of our experts immediately.

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