Keep it Clean: Keep it Away

Bothered By Boils?

If you've been bothered by boils, you know just how painful and inconvenient they can be. If you want to know more about what causes these pus-filled bumps so you can keep from ever getting one again, read on.

Most of the time, it's Staph bacteria that are responsible for boils. These bacteria are found on the skin, throat, and nose but are often harmless. It's when you get a cut, scratch, or other break in the skin, that the Staph bacteria can enter and cause infection. That's why it's so important to keep your skin clean, and even more so should you injure yourself or otherwise incur a break in your skin.

Once you know that good hygiene keeps away boils, you'll want specifics. Here are tips on how to treat broken skin and keep away infection:

Clean the injured area-Use clear water to rinse the wound. Soap can irritate broken skin, so keep it away from the wound. If debris or dirt should remain inside the wound after careful rinsing, use a tweezers sterilized with alcohol to remove particles as best you can. Clean the area surrounding the wound with plain soap and water.

Apply a topical antibiotic-After you've cleaned it, cover the wound with an antibiotic ointment, for instance Neosporin. This will help to keep the surface moist and can discourage infection giving the body's natural healing process a chance to close the wound.

Cover up-Bandages and gauze serve to keep dirt and debris away from the wound, along with harmful bacteria. Once the wound has healed a bit, leave off the covering to give air a chance to speed healing.

Change that Bandaid-Bandages should be changed at least once a day or whenever a dressing becomes wet or dirty.

Deeply Wounded-Wounds that are more than ¼ inch deep, gape, or have a jagged edge may need stitches. If you can't get a wound to close with ease, see your doctor right away. Good stitching within a few hours of injury can reduce the risk of infection.

Watch it-If your wound isn't healing or you see redness, have increasing pain, drainage, or a feeling of warmth or swelling in the affected area, you need to see your doctor. These are signs of infection.  

Get a booster-It's a good idea to get a tetanus shot every ten years. If you have a deep or dirty wound, and you haven't had a tetanus shot in five years or so, your doctor may want you to have a booster within 48 hours of the injury.

Wash Those Hands

If you do get a boil, don't touch or try to lance the infection, since this will spread germs to the surrounding skin, causing more boils to form. If your boil should drain, use tissue or clean towels to wipe away the drainage and keep the infection from spreading. Keep the area covered with sterile gauze and wash your hands before and after treating the affected area.