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How to identify and treat a boil (furuncle)

A boil, also called furuncle is a yellowish lump that forms due to infection of a hair root and more commonly appears on the neck, underarms, scalp, chest, buttocks, face and belly.

Usually it disappears after a few days by just applying warm water compresses to the region, which helps to remove the pus. However, if the boil does not heal within two weeks, it is recommended that you seek your dermatologist so he can prescribe ointments or remove the pus surgically if necessary.

However, to find out if it is really a boil and not just a pimple, aside from the yellowish lump with redness around it, it is important to realize if:

  1. 1. Increases size over time
    Yes
    No
  2. 2. In addition to the pain, there is heat and itching on the spot.
    Yes
    No
  3. 3. No improvement in 1 week
    Yes
    No
  4. 4. It is accompanied by a low fever (37.5 ° C to 38 ° C)
    Yes
    No
  5. 5. There is malaise
    Yes
    No
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How to identify and treat a boil (furuncle)

What to put on the boil

To treat the boil it is important to wash the area daily with soap and water or an antiseptic soap, preferably indicated by the dermatologist, and to apply warm water compresses to the region, which helps to remove the pus, waiting for it to disappear by itself. 

However, when there is no improvement, see your dermatologist to start using antibiotic ointments such as Ichthyol, Furacin, Neomycin or Bactroban. If the boil arises repeatedly, the doctor may indicate the use of another ointment, known as Mupirocin, which prevents the onset of this type of infection. See the various ointments that can be used to treat boils.

It is not recommended you try to squeeze or burst the boil because it can aggravate the infection and spread to other areas of the skin.

Boils are contagions

Boils can be contagious because the bacteria can be transmitted through contact with the pus or through the air, being able to install itself in the nostrils. Therefore, it is very important that people living in the same household apply antibiotic cream prescribed by the dermatologist several times a day to the nose.

It is also important that the person with has the boil follow certain hygiene rituals, such as washing their hands after touching the boil, or not sharing tissues, sheets, clothing or towels, for example.

However, the boil may also without there being contact with someone who has one.

How to avoid it's recurrence

To prevent the appearance of another boil you should follow these precautions:

  • Wash your hands after touching the boil;
  • Do not share clothes, tissues, sheets or towels;
  • Wash your clothes, towels, sheets and all the materials that come in contact with the region where the boil is with boiling water;
  • Wash the boil with soap and water after it bursts on its own;
  • Change the patches and put them in a specific rubbish bag.

People who live with a person who has a boil should put an antibiotic cream in their nose prescribed by a dermatologist because the bacteria present inside the boil can travel and lodge itself inside the nostrils.

How can you treat boils at home

The home treatment for boils is aimed at relieving symptoms, and is usually done with substances that have antiseptic properties, and are therefore able to assist in fighting the infection. A great home treatment option for boils is a lemon patch, because lemon, besides being rich in vitamin C can help to strengthen your immune system, is antiseptic and may help in fighting the bacterium that is causing the infection.

It is also important to have a healthy diet, avoiding the consumption of fatty foods.

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