Treating boils at home


Boils are round, pus filled nodules on the skin. They are caused by bacterial infections in the hair follicle or sebaceous gland. They often appear on the underarms, back, buttocks and folds of skin.

Appearing suddenly, they are often painful. Symptoms that a boil is on the onset include mild pain, itching and swelling. Within a day, the boil reddens and is filled with pus.

Boils are contagious and the infected pus can cause more boils in the surrounding area. When left untreated, the boil bursts and drains within two to three weeks. When treated, the healing is faster and it prevents the formation of new boils.

Treatment: Relieve pain and encourage the boil to burst by applying hot compresses several times a day. Do this by soaking a cotton cloth in hot water squeezing and placing on the boil. Do this for 20 minutes at a time. Use clean, disinfected clothes each time to prevent spreading the germs.

Apply a drop of tea-tree oil to the boil following the hot compress. The tea-tree acts as an antiseptic.

Keep the skin clean by washing the infected area several times a day. Use mild antiseptic liquid to boost healing and to prevent re-infection.

Do not puncture and drain a boil before it is ripe. Avoid squeezing boils.

If a boil is taking too long to heal, large and very painful, you may need to see a doctor.