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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: 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.