Home care for a boil includes application of warm compresses until it begins to drain, cleaning the wound, and applying a topical antibiotic and bandage, according to WebMD. Keeping the wound clean and changing bandages helps to prevent infection.
When treating a boil, Mayo Clinic warns against squeezing or lancing the boil with a needle, warning that using these techniques can spread the infection. It is important to wash the hands thoroughly after treating the boil. Clothing contacting the area, including compresses, requires washing to prevent repeat infections. Boils are usually due to a type of staph infection that lives on the skin and in the nose. They often form in areas near cuts or insect bites that allow the bacteria to penetrate the skin.
Larger boils, or several boils that combine to form a carbuncle, often require care from a medical provider. The doctor makes a small incision at the tip of the boil so it drains. Sometimes, large carbuncles do not drain completely, even after the incision. In these cases, the care provider packs the area with absorbent material to help remove the infection, according to Mayo Clinic. Prescription antibiotics are sometimes useful with persistent or recurrent infections. Tea tree oil is sometimes useful as an alternative treatment for skin infections, including boils.