Q:

How do you treat boils on your skin at home?

A:

Quick Answer

Apply warm, moist compresses to a boil several times a day until it opens, recommends MedlinePlus. Once the boil begins to drain, wash with antibacterial soap, clean with rubbing alcohol, and apply a medicated ointment and bandage, instructs WebMD. Repeat several times a day until the boil heals.

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Full Answer

Boils sometimes heal on their own with no treatment, notes MedlinePlus. Individuals should not squeeze or cut open a boil because doing so can spread infection.

It is important to keep a boil clean, stresses MedlinePlus. Individuals should wash their hands well after touching a boil, and any towels, washcloths, clothing or sheets that come in contact with the boil must be laundered in very hot water before being reused. While the boil is not contagious, the bacteria that cause them are contagious, notes MedicineNet.

Boils that are large or deep sometimes require surgery, advises MedlinePlus. Medical attention is advisable for boils that last for two weeks or more, boils that recur, boils that cause significant pain, and boils that appear on the spine or on the face. If fever or other symptoms accompany a boil, medical attention is also warranted. A doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or administer an injection of antibiotics to treat such boils. People suffering from long-term illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer, or who take medications that suppress the immune system should also seek medical attention for boils, notes MedicineNet.

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