A risen, or boil, can be treated at home with hot compresses and warm water. However, if the boil is accompanied by a fever, manifests along with swollen lymph nodes, becomes painful or does not drain, it may be necessary to seek medical treatment. Boils are not typically considered a medical emergency.
Soaking a boil in warm water and applying hot compresses decreases any pain and draws the pus within the boil to the skin's surface. A boil often bursts with repeated soaking after it comes to a head. This typically occurs around ten days after the boil appears. Once the boil starts to drain, it should be washed with antibacterial soap until all the pus is gone, then cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Boils are a skin infection and should not be popped with a needle, as this could make the infection worse.
The most common places for a boil to appear are the face, neck, armpits, shoulders and buttocks. When a boil is found on the eyelid, it is called a stye. Several boils that appear in a group are termed a carbuncle, which is considered a serious infection. Most boils are caused by a germ that enters the body through the skin or a hair follicle.