New in How to Manage Boils

What We Know about Boils

Since many of you have suffered from boils at some point in your lives, you know that boils are those pimple-like growths or skin cysts which are caused by infection of a hair follicle or oil gland. You are all too familiar with how boils appear - beginning as small red lumps and gradually growing bigger and bigger as the boil head fills with bacteria-laden whitish pus. Once the boil reaches maturity, the head finally ruptures, draining the pus.

Many of the causes of boils are also known. Staphylococcus aureus (popularly referred to as "staph") is the naturally present bacterium in the body which is the most common and likely cause of boils. Improper hygiene or open cuts in the skin are other ways staph can enter the body and create a boil. Finally, what we also know is that risk factors such as a family history of boils, malnutrition, obesity, and anemia all increase the likelihood of someone getting boils.

What We Don't Know about Boils

While we know what boils are, what causes them, and what risk factors increase the incidence of boils, what we don't yet know about boils is how to cure them. We can treat boils and learn to manage boils safely, however even in this area there is no one conclusive or proven method of treating boils that shines above the rest. Fortunately, with the increasing number of home remedy alternatives and over-the-counter recommendations available for treating boils today, there are many proactive steps you can take to manage an existing boils condition and to prevent a reoccurrence of boils in the future.

Boils Alert

Remember that once a boil spreads, it can create a host of more serious complications (including a condition called carbuncles - a cluster of boils) which require medical intervention. What you want to do is catch these growths early on and treat them effectively. To prevent boils from spreading, here are a couple of "boils alert" rules to follow:

•- Do not squeeze or try to "pop" a boil on your own, which may cause the infection to spread

•- If your boils show no signs of draining or reducing in size after two weeks, you should visit your doctor, who may decide to remove lance and drain them.

•- Boils that appear on the face or near the spine should only be drained by a doctor.

How to Prevent, Manage, and Treat Boils

The most common means of preventing, managing, and treating boils today are lifestyle changes and home remedies. Here are some of the top tips on dealing with boils:

•- Practice good hygiene to prevent spreading of bacteria

•- Eat a nutritious diet to optimize the your immune system functioning (including nutritional supplements such as Vitamin C)

•- Apply a hot compress (i.e. a warm washcloth) to the infected area for about 10 minutes several times a day

•- Make and spread a paste of Epsom salts and water over the affected area; the salt helps dry up and break open the skin covering the boil, allowing the sore to drain; the Epsom salts then inhibit the growth of new bacteria at the site

•- Apply a home remedy comprised of Indian spice and turmeric dissolved in a cup of warm water to the affected area three times daily, which acts a natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.

•- Homeopathic sprays are some of the more time-proven remedies for treating boils. Sprayed under the tongue for quick absorption into the bloodstream, consider Echinacea to help strengthen the immune system and prevent the spread of infection, Mercury to relieve burning and redness, and Wild Indigo to ease pain and soreness and to stimulate the immune system.

•- When a boil begins to drain, apply tea tree oil (a natural antiseptic) to the wound and cover the boil with a bandage to speed up healing.

•- Oral antibiotics such as dicloxacillin and cefalexin are effective in treating staph infections