Q:

What do you need to do to prevent infection after a boil has been lanced?

A:

Quick Answer

Doctors recommend cleaning the infection site two to three times daily after having a boil lanced to help the skin heal and prevent infection, according to WebMD. Patients may also apply antibiotic ointment to fight bacteria and keep the area covered with a bandage to limit exposure to infected tissue.

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Full Answer

At home, patients must contain the infectious bacteria as effectively as possible by washing all bedding, linens and clothing that were exposed to the boil, according to WebMD. In general, good hygiene, nutrition and wound care practices reduce the risk of spreading or contracting infection, but people with certain health problems, such as diabetes, are highly susceptible regardless of proactive treatment.

A boil, or furuncle, is a type of pus-filled bump that forms under the skin when bacteria infects a hair follicle, as Medical News Today explains. Boils are usually reddened, tender and painful, and they swell until they burst, releasing a harmful concoction of dead skins cells, white blood cells and bacteria. Boils develop in areas throughout the body, especially the armpits, thighs, face and buttocks. A carbuncle is a cluster of boils, and this heightened form of the infection is often triggered by exposure to Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Due to the highly contagious nature of boils, doctors advise patients to avoid squeezing or draining them, which is a procedure known as lancing, as Medical News Today explains. If lancing is necessary, doctors use a sterile needle to drain the infectious pus carefully.

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