Boils or skin abscesses are large, sore, reddish bumps resulting from infections deep in the skin.
A boil usually starts as a tender area that becomes hardened and swells resembling a "blind pimple." It can develop slowly but eventually the center will soften and develop a "head." The head is filled with bacteria, proteins, and the accumulation of white blood cells sent to fight the infection, otherwise known as pus. When the boil reaches its final stage, it can be drained by lancing or it may spontaneously drain. Applied hot packs will help this process along, as the heat draws more blood to fight the infection.
There are several types of boils including furuncle or carbuncle boils caused by a bacterium called staphylococcus aureus. This type of boil, which may have multiple openings onto the skin, is sometimes accompanied by a fever or chills. Another common boil is caused by cystic acne. These abscesses form due to clogged or infected oil ducts. Cystic acne affects deeper skin tissues than that of common acne and is often associated with teenage years.
Boils can also form as a result of an ingrown hair or at the site of any skin puncture such as a splinter or cut that may become infected. In most cases applying moist heat packs will help draw the boil to a head, however lancing a boil before a head forms will not alleviate the tenderness nor aid healing. In fact it can have the opposite effect and slow the healing process.
Some types of cortisone medications like prednisone can suppress the immune system increasing the chance for boils, and people with impaired immune systems might also have a greater tendency to develop boils.
It may happen, especially with larger boils, that several pockets of pus need to be lanced and drained. In this case seeing a healthcare practitioner might be best. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed, however medication is not always needed.
I have been getting boils for almost 4 years now. If it is a boil like mine, just know these are not caused by not being clean because believe me when I say, I shower everyday. Here is a website giving more info about boils - the cause of boils, etc..
The first one appeared when I was pg with our little boy & it was on my buttocks which is also known as pilonidal cyst. I had it drained but it kept returning so my dr prescribed me antibiotics & said he could cut & drain it or I could try to let it drain on its own by soaking in warm water & epsom salt. Yes, that did help sometimes but other times, I still had to go get drained...it depends on your skin & how bad the boil already is. I eventually had it surgically removed but now have a huge scar & still have problems with it & not sure if it was just that particular surgeon's mistake or what. A while back, 2 more boils appeared, 1 under each armpit so I scheduled an appt with a dermatologist that deals with all types of skin diseases, including boils, cysts, etc...so hopefully she can help me with this. I have learned a lot about boils/abscess by google searches. Here is a link I came across just today that states if you have reoccuring boils, you may have this type of skin disease -
Also, try a heating pad/ warm towel over the boil if soaking in epsom salt doesn't work. I tried a heating pad today on my 2 boils on my armpits & it helped them go down A LOT!! And they don't hurt as bad. I think if I apply this heating pad as often as I can, which is 4-6 times a day for 20 minutes, it would help it to drain itself because on some websites I came across, it says if you apply heat to the boil, it will help open the head of the boil & drain. Hope I helped & let me know if any of these methods work for your son. I'm sorry he has to go through this...it makes me feel better knowing I'm not alone & especially if a toddler has to deal with these, I feel more confident in myself.