How are you? A boil, also referred to as a skin abscess, is a localized infection deep in the skin. It starts as a reddened, tender area that becomes firm and hard. Eventually, the center of the abscess softens and becomes filled with pus. There are several different types of boils depending on the location: furuncle, carbuncle, cystic acne, hidradenitis suppurativa, or pilonidal cyst. Boils could be due to an ingrown hair, breaks in the skin infected with bacteria, foreign material that has become lodged in the skin, or plugged sweat glands that become infected. People with certain illnesses such as
diabetes or kidney failure and taking medications impair the body's immune system are more likely to develop boils.
Heat application, usually with hot soaks or hot packs may help. As long as the boil is small and firm, opening the area and draining the boil is not helpful. Once the boil becomes soft or "forms a head", it can be ready to drain. Antibiotics are often used to eliminate the accompanying bacterial infection. The regular use of antibacterial soaps can help to prevent bacteria from building up on the skin. It would be best to have this evaluated further by your doctor to rule out existing conditions such as diabetes that may be causing reinfection.
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