Friday, February 15, 2013

Boils are a skin infection that starts in a hair follicle or oil gland. They can be unsightly and painful. Dr. Edward Hill discusses boils\ in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

When skin bacteria, called staphylococci, invade a hair follicle, a boil results. Skin tissue swells, and a tender and red, pus-filled lump emerges. The pus contains white blood cells fighting the infection. Until the boil opens and the pus is released, the boil will be painful and tender.

Boils can range in size from a pea to a walnut. They most commonly occur in areas where there is hair and chafing, such as the neck, armpits and face.

Boils can be a bit contagious. Keep the boil area clean and always wash hands after touching it.

Do not attempt to squeeze a boil or attempt to drain it before it comes to a head as this may drive the infection deeper into the skin.

Carbuncles are extremely large boils or a series of boils usually deeper and more painful than regular boils. Check with a doctor if you suspect a carbuncle because the infection can get into the bloodstream and antibiotics and/or drainage may be required.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.