Q:

What causes boils on the body?

A:

Quick Answer

Boils are commonly caused by bacteria found on the skin's surface, notably Staphylococcus aureus, notes MedlinePlus. Fungi that occur over the skin may also cause boils.

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Full Answer

Boils are a skin infection in that start in hair follicles and the skin tissue that boarder the follicles, according to MedlinePlus. They attack any part of the skin, more so the face, armpit, buttocks, thighs and neck, and cause pain when filled with pus. However, the pain subsides when pus is drained. An individual can have one or more boils at one particular time. Possible symptoms of boils may include pustules, rapid growth, weeping, fatigue and itching before boil development.

A doctor may diagnose a boil depending on its appearance, says MedlinePlus. To determine the exact bacteria causing the boil, the doctor obtains a cell sample from the boil and sends the sample to a lab for analysis.

Boils can either heal on their own or heal through surgery, reports MedlinePlus. While small, shallow boils heal on their own, surgery to drain the boil may be good for larger, deep boils. Care must be taken not to squeeze or cut the boil at home to avoid spreading the infection. However, an individual should seek medical attention if, among other reasons, the boil fails to heal within two weeks, if it recurs after healing, if the boil attacks the spine or if the boil causes symptoms.

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