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Boils

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Boils Treatment -- Home Remedies

  • Apply warm compresses and soak the boil in warm water. This will decrease the pain and help draw the pus to the surface. Once the boil comes to a head, it will burst with repeated soakings. This usually occurs within 10 days of its appearance. You can make a warm compress by soaking a wash cloth in warm water and squeezing out the excess moisture.
  • When the boil starts draining, wash it with an antibacterial soap until all the pus is gone and clean with rubbing alcohol. Apply a medicated ointment (topical antibiotic) and a bandage. Continue to wash the infected area two to three times a day and to use warm compresses until the wound heals.
  • Do not pop the boil with a needle. This could make the infection worse.

Medical Treatment for Boils

If there are concerns about the seriousness of the infection, additional blood tests will be performed. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the infection is severe. If the boil is drained, a culture may be done to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection and to assess if an appropriate antibiotic was given.

Next Steps -- Follow-up

Whether the boil is drained at home or is lanced by a doctor, you will need to clean the infected area two to three times a day until the wound is healed. Apply an antibiotic ointment after washing and cover with a bandage. If the area turns red or looks as if it is getting infected again, contact your doctor.

Preventing Boils

Help prevent boils by following these guidelines:

  • Carefully wash clothes, bedding, and towels of a family member who is infected with boils.
  • Clean and treat minor skin wounds.
  • Practice good personal hygiene.
  • Stay as healthy as possible.

Outlook

Most boils will disappear with simple home treatment.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on November 02, 2013
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