Asked by omprakasharya123 | 28th May, 2011, 11:02: PM

Expert Answer:

The main cause of boils is Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that infects a hair follicle or an oil gland. Since the surface of the skin is usually resistant to bacteria, the growth of Staphylococcus aureus usually arises when there is a deep, lingering puncture in the skin. This can include foreign matter embedded in the skin, ingrown hairs or cystic acne, which is a result of blocked sweat glands. The infected tissue eventually develops a pimple-like, pus-filled bump, known as an abscess, which results in a hard, pink bump known as a boil. As the boil develops, it comes to a hard, yellow head that is called a pustule and is quite tender.

Boils are usually found on the face, neck, backside, armpits, groin and upper torso. Most of the time, once the pustule forms, it will drain itself out through the skin. If the boil does not drain itself, you can try using heat, either soaking the infected area in hot water or applying a hot cloth. This should only be done once the boil forms a pustule. After the pustule has drained, immediately cleanse the area thoroughly with soap and water, or an antiseptic solution, then cover it with a bandage. Wash it every day and replace old bandages with new, clean ones to ensure healthy healing. For large boils, a physician needs to be consulted who will lance it.

Practicing good hygiene is the first step in preventing any kind of infection, including susceptible follicles that result in boils. Antibacterial soaps are a good start, as is using a loofah brush to exfoliate dead cells--provided that you change it twice a year, since bacteria can build up in the loofah. Showering instead of taking a bath will discourage the spread of existing Staphylococcus aureus.

Answered by  | 28th May, 2011, 11:09: PM

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