Boils are an unfortunate, if somewhat common, issue for many people therefore it can be beneficial to know what causes boils. They can occur at any age and no one is immune, though some people may be more at risk. Since boils occur when a bacteria on the surface of the skin is allowed to enter the body by way of a cut or nick in the skin, people with certain health issues that affect their skin and make it easy for them to have cuts tend to get boils somewhat more frequently than healthy people with no underlying health concerns.

The bacteria that causes boils can be slowly building an infection under the skin for up to two weeks before any outward sign is noticeable. The boil will start off as a small red lump, sort of like a small pimple. As the infection worsens the boil will grow in size and become filled with pus. This pus is actually made up of blood cells, bacteria and dead skin cells.

Boils can occur all over the body but do seem to show up more often on the neck, back, shoulders, underarms, and buttocks. They are usually between 1/2 inch and 3/4 in. in diameter.

Boils will usually last about 10 days, though they can take up to 3 weeks to clear up completely. You should never try to ‘pop’ or lance your boil since you don’t have the proper sterilized equipment and you may actually make the infection worse, or spread it to other parts of your body. The infection can also be spread if you aren’t careful to wash your hands after every time you touch the affected area.

The proper way to help heal your boil more quickly is to use either an over the counter antibiotic cream and /or use a washcloth moistened with hot water as a compress. Gently hold the warm washcloth against the boil for several minutes, you can do this several times during the day. This warm compress will help to alleviate some of the discomfort from the boil as well as draw the pus to the surface of the boil. Once the pus is at the surface it will put stress on the outer wall of the boil and the wall will rupture. Once it ruptures all the pus, bacteria and dead skin cells can drain away and the boil will heal over within several days.

During the healing stage make sure to keep the area clean and covered with sterile bandages as well as a good antibacterial ointment to prevent another infection from taking hold while the skin is open and raw.

If the boil lasts for more than a couple of weeks or you have a high fever or red streaks at the site of the boil, call your doctor right away. Knowing what causes boils can help you try to alleviate some of those things from your life and that will hopefully eliminate getting boils in the first place.

Similar Studies