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: CLO, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I have had boils everywhere, including my breasts, armpits, and all over the groin area including my buttocks. I hate it so much, so much pain. I have been on many antibiotics, vitamin C, and probiotics. This has been happening to me since I was 16 and I am now 42. No doctor can tell me why it happens to me. I am not a diabetic and not a smoker. I am just a bit overweight. No answers for me yet.

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Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I have gotten two boils in the last month. I can tell you what has worked for me. At the first sign of a boil I mix water and baking soda to form a paste and apply it to the boil. It helps draw the infection out and reduces the pain. I have avoided the doctor on both occasions.

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