- Painful red lump in the skin
- Hair follicle infection caused by the Staph bacteria
- Most boils need to be seen by a doctor
Symptoms of a Boil
- Bright red lump (swelling) in the skin.
- Painful, even when not being touched.
- Most often ½ to 1 inch across (1 to 2 cm).
- After about a week, the center of the boil becomes filled with pus. The center becomes soft and mushy.
- The skin over the boil then develops a large pimple. This is known as "coming to a head."
Causes of Boils
- A boil is an infection of a hair follicle (skin pore).
- Boils are caused by the Staph bacteria.
- Friction from tight clothing is a risk factor. Common sites are the groin, armpit, buttock, thigh or waist.
- Shaving is also a risk factor. Common sites are the face, legs, armpits or pubic area.
Prevention of Boils
- Washing hands is key to preventing Staph skin infections. Have everyone in the home wash their hands often. Use a liquid antibacterial soap or alcohol hand sanitizer. Have everyone shower daily. Showers are best, because baths still leave many Staph bacteria on the skin.
- Avoid nose picking. 30% of people have Staph bacteria in their nose.
- When shaving anywhere on the body, never try to shave too close. Reason: it causes small cuts that allow Staph bacteria to enter the skin.
Prevention - Bleach Baths for Boils that Come Back.
- Some doctors suggest bleach baths to prevent boils from coming back. Talk with your doctor about this treatment.
- Use ½ cup (120 mL) of regular bleach per 1 full bathtub of water.
- Soak for 10 minutes twice weekly.
- This mix of bleach and water is like a swimming pool.