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Boils are painful, deep, bacterial infections of a hair follicle. Boils are common and contagious.


Equally affects both sexes.

Signs & Symptons

  • A painful and red domed nodule that has pus on its surface and is tender. Boils can appear suddenly and ripen in 24 hours. They are of different sizes and maybe from 1-1/2cm to 3cm in diameter.
  • Fever (not so rare).


Infection, usually from bacteria called Staphylococcus, that begins in the hair follicle and bores into the skin’s deeper layers.

Risk Increases With

  • Poor nutrition.
  • Child recovering from an illness that has lowered resistance.


Keep the skin clean.

Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • History and examination by a doctor.
  • Laboratory culture of the pus to identify the germ, in cases resistant to treatment.

Possible Complications

The infection may enter the bloodstream and spread to other body parts.

Probable Outcomes

Without treatment, a boil will heal in 10 to 20 days. With treatment, the boil should heal in less time, symptoms will be less severe and new boils should not appear. The pus that drains when a boil opens spontaneously may contaminate nearby skin, causing new boils.


General Measures

  • Relieve pain with gentle heat from warm-water soaks, or a hot-water bottle. Use 3 or 4 times daily for 20 minutes.
  • Prevent the spread of boils by using clean towels each time you wash or wipe your child. You may even use paper towels and discard them.


  • Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
  • Don’t use non-prescription antibiotic creams or ointments on the boil’s surface. They are ineffective.


Decrease activity until the boil heals. Avoid sweating


No special diet. 

Contact your Doctor

  • You have a boil.
  • Symptoms don’t improve in 3 to 4 days, despite treatment.
    The following occurs during treatment:
  • New boils appear.
  • Fever.
  • Other family members develop boils.
  • New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.