A mild or moderate risen is treated by keeping the area clean until it heals, but antibiotics are needed to treat a severe risen. If a risen, also known as a boil, is no more than 1 inch high and it is not red, it is considered to be mild; however, if the risen is more than an inch tall or if there are several risens in one area, medical attention is necessary.
A risen forms when bacteria enters the body through cuts in the skin. The bacteria travels through the bloodstream to a hair follicle and becomes infected. Over a period of days, a painful lump forms and pus gathers below the skin.
To treat a risen at home, the area needs to be cleaned with warm water and peroxide several times each day and kept covered to prevent more bacteria from coming into contact with the skin. Warm and cold compresses also help to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
If a resistant form of bacteria causes a risen, it is harder to eliminate. Symptoms of a risen that needs to be treated with antibiotics include severe swelling, significant pain, a large pocket of pus, fever and red streaks around the infected area. If any of these symptoms develop, medical attention is needed.