What Are the Causes and Treatments of Boils?

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An infection of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is the most common cause of boils, especially when transmitted through an open cut or insect bite, explains Mayo Clinic. For most boils, home treatment with a warm compress is sufficient to manage pain until the boil drains naturally.

Boils may appear anywhere on the body, and many form within one or several infected hair follicles, according to MedicineNet. Clogged sweat glands, ingrown hairs and splinters are other common sources of boil-inducing skin infections. In general, any patch of broken skin leaves the area vulnerable to foreign particles, which trigger localized inflammation. As the affected skin forms a hard, reddened bump, the area fills with pus containing white blood cells that help to fight the infection.

Doctors may recommend antibiotics to treat patients with serious infections or recurrent boils, states Mayo Clinic. When handling antibiotic-resistant boils, doctors may have the pus tested to determine the most effective treatment. Manual drainage is often necessary to treat boils that cause severe pain or have a high risk of spreading infection. The physician makes an incision, and if the pus buildup is excessive, the doctor may leave sterile gauze on the wound to absorb the remaining liquid. At home, individuals should wash their hands and any linens that came in contact with the boil to avoid spreading the infection.