Boils - Experience

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Boils facts

  • A boil, or skin abscess, is a collection of pus that forms in the skin.
  • Boils symptoms and signs include
    • a firm reddened bump,
    • tender, swollen skin surrounding the bump,
    • the bump may increase in size,
    • pus-filled head on the bump, which may spontaneously drain, weep, or ooze.
Picture of a Boil (Skin Abscess)
Picture: What does a boil look like?
  • Antibiotics alone can be inadequate in treating abscesses. The primary treatments for boils include hot packs and draining ("lancing") the abscess but only when it is soft and ready to drain. Most boils resolve on their own or with home remedies.
  • If the individual has a fever or long-term illness, such as cancer or diabetes, or is taking medications that suppress the immune system, he or she should contact a health-care professional if a boil (abscess) develops.
  • There are a number of ways to reduce the likelihood of developing some forms of boils, but boils are not completely preventable.
  • Boils themselves are not contagious, but the bacteria that cause boils are.
Return to Boils

See what others are saying

Comment from: OG., 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 01

I started having boils about 2 years ago. Before then I used 2 have it sparsely. But since 2 years ago, I have had series of boils on my buttocks and thighs. I've gone to the hospital to see the doctor and I was put on antibiotic and pain reliever. I had some break this year and have been happy to see only 4 new boils show under my armpit and leg this time around. They are so painful and healing slowly. I've started using the antibiotic again. It's such an ugly experience.

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Comment from: gloryb, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I just developed a boil in the crease of my vagina, next to my thigh. At first I didn't know what it was, till I went to doctor. She lanced it, nothing much came out. It was about the size of a 50 cent piece and very painful! I have had this for 6 days now and it's not drained much. She put me on doxycycline antibiotic and I have used heating pad and sitz bath, not much help. I used toothpaste, fatback; nothing seems to work. It is still hard and painful. I also had aches and chills and stayed out of work 4 days. I have never had anything like this in my 62 years! I can't miss any more work! I started taking vitamin C, read somewhere that would build up immune system.

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