What You Need to Know About Boils

Boils are rough to experience. They’re painful and itchy, and they look eerily similar to spider bites. Many people think of a boil as a large pimple that is “boiling over,” which certainly can help you identify one.

If you have a boil that has developed on your skin, read on as our team at AFC Urgent Care Gastonia provides some information that you need to know!

  • What boils are: A boil, also called a furuncle, is a painful, pus-filled bump that forms under the skin when bacteria infect and inflame one or more of your hair follicles. A group of boils can also form under the skin, which is called a carbuncle.

  • How they’re commonly caused: Most boils and carbuncles are caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (staph). These staph infections form pockets in the skin that are filled with pus, a fluid that includes bacteria, dead skin cells and infection-fighting white blood cells.

  • Its common symptoms include: A boil looks like a red, swollen, painful bump under the skin. As the infection gets worse, a whitish tip can appear at the center of the boil.

  • Here’s what to do if you get one: First off, don’t squeeze or try to drain a boil yourself. This can lead to a spread of the infection or possibly cause a secondary infection of the boil.

  • What to do next: Keep the boil clean by washing the boil with antibacterial soap and warm water and gently patting the area dry. It’s a good idea to keep the towels and washcloths that come in contact with the boil separate from other towels.

  • What to do after: Place a warm, wet washcloth on it throughout the day. Heat encourages the formation of pus and might help the boil break, drain and heal.

  • Action steps to take: Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent boils from occurring, but things like washing your hands frequently, keeping wounds covered until they heal and avoiding sharing personal items with others are some of the best prevention tactics.

  • Doctor’s recommendations: If you are dealing with a boil, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC center for treatment. Boils can cause scarring and even sepsis in more severe and rare cases.

For treatment for boils and other skin conditions, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Gastonia team today!