Boils, medically referred to as furuncles, are round pus-filled nodules on the skin that result from infection with staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The infection begins in the deepest portion of a hair follicle and then the inflammation spreads.
A carbuncle is a cluster of small boils that occurs when the infection penetrates in the deeper layers of the skin tissues - usually more painful and slower healing than an ordinary boil. Symptoms of carbuncles include chills, fatigue, fever and weight loss.
Common contributing factors of furuncles include diabetes, mellitus, illnesses that depress immune function, the use of immuno-suppressive drugs and poor nutrition.
Improving nutrition and including supplements may shorten the duration of the infection and strengthen the body's defense against recurrence.
Boils are common among children and adolescents, often appearing on the buttocks, face, scalp or underarms. They are tender, red, painful and appear suddenly. Symptoms of a boil forming include itching, localized swelling and mild pain; then becomes red and fills with pus.
Boils ARE contagious. The pus that drains from a boil can contaminate nearby skin, causing new boils or can enter the bloodstream and spread to other body parts. To avoid possible spreading of an infection, showers are recommended instead of tub baths. In addition, hands should be scrubbed completely before touching food. . . . . staphylococcus bacteria can cause food poisoning.
Without treatment, a boil usually comes to a head, opens, drains and heals in ten to twenty-five days. With treatment symptoms are less severe and new boils should not appear.
To bring a developing boil to a head, apply warm, moist compresses for 20 - 30 minutes three or four times a day for several days to assure complete drainage. A compress can relieve pain and promote healing.
Boils that appear ready to burst can be opened by pricking with a sterilized needle, then gently squeezed to help release the pus. Cleanse and disinfect the area. They must drain to heal.
Boils are unsightly, can leave scars and can even be dangerous. But for most part, they can be treated safely at home. Here's how:
Wrap some finely chopped or grated raw cabbage leaves in a piece of gauze and place it over the boil. Secure with bandages. This will gradually draw out the pus and help the wound to heal. Other variations of a compress include:
- heated slice of tomato
- raw slice of onion
- mashed garlic
- bag of black tea
- warm milk and bread
Vitamin A is necessary for health of the skin and provides antioxidants necessary for proper immune system function. Use emulsion forms for easier assimilation and greater safety at high doses. Take 75,000 IU daily for one month, then reduce to 25,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily. Vitamin A can also be applied locally.
Vitamin C is necessary for health of the skin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and immune system stimulant. Take 3,000 - 8,000 milligrams daily, in divided doses.
Vitamin E is necessary for health of the skin and provides antioxidants necessary for proper immune system function. Take 600 IU daily. Vitamin E can also be applied locally.
Zinc helps promote a healthy immune system and the healing of wounds. Enough zinc in the diet may actually prevent boils from occurring. Take 50 milligrams daily.
Chlorophyll liquid will cleanse the bloodstream. Take 1 tablespoon 3 times daily.
Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic and disinfectant. It destroys bacteria, viruses and fungi and promotes healing. Apply topically as directed on label.
The herbs burdock root and pau d'arco are natural antibiotics that help rid the body of infections and toxins. Burdock leaves may be helpful used as a poultice.
Oat straw, taken in the form of tea, supplies silica , which has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Red clover acts as an antibiotic and blood purifier, and is good for bacterial infections.
Suma boosts the immune system.
Thyme has an antiseptic effect and helps scarring. Add 3 drops of extract to a cup of warm water and apply gently with a cotton ball to the affected area.
If a boil is very large, persistent, or recurrent, consult your physician. Surgical incision and drainage may be necessary.