Boils are also known as skin abscesses are tender, painful, pus-filled bump(s) on the skin as a result of an infection in our hair follicle that can spread to the surrounding skin. Sweaty and hairy areas of the body such as the underarms, pelvic area, thigh, buttocks, and neck. These are the most common places on the body for boils to appear. Boils can be as small as a pinhead or as big as a golf ball depending on their stage of infection on the skin. To identify a boil, it has the following features:
- Redness or discoloration form the surrounding skin
- Swelling and tenderness on the infected area
- The skin area feels warm, lumpy or hard
- It is painful and oozes some liquid or pus
- A yellow or white tip of the boil can be seen once matured
These are the main symptoms that are used to identify a boil sometimes including, fever, fatigue, or feeling unwell.
When we are not so lucky, we can end up with not just one boil but a collection of several interconnected boils under the skin in one place which are extremely painful. In this case, it is called a carbuncle and they are commonly found on the neck and the back. This type of boil develops much deeper in the skin than a common boil and it also takes longer to heal.
Causes of a boil
It is known that most boils are caused by a bacterial infection of Staphylococcus aureus that entered the hair follicle probably through a cut, bruise, or any breaking of the skin. Another less common type of boil is caused by other conditions such as diabetes, poor nutrition, weak immunity and acne as a result of clogged pores of the skin especially the face and back.
Shaving is one of the most common practices that allow for boils to develop easily because we often nick ourselves with the blade mistakenly. It will be good if you can find good methods of shaving safely without breaking skin. This can help prevent the constant development of boils. Another common cause is friction from tight clothing. This pushes the bacteria living on our skin to slip under the skin thus infecting the hair follicles.
How to care for boils
An infected person and those around them need to be careful in treating this infection because it can be spread if you have broken skin yourself. This happens through skin-to-skin contact or contaminated objects that have been touched by the boil or its pus. To be honest, we do not always know where our skin has broken because it can be as simple as a scratch or as deep as a cut. This is why it is just good practice to be careful. It is important to remember to not share personal items e.g. towels, clothes, beddings, etc., avoid touching the boil, and wash your hands frequently throughout the day when you have a boil.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you have a boil is to force the pus out by prematurely poking it with a needle or pin and squeezing all the liquid. This will make it double or triple in size and increase your pain and infection. Never do this!
Instead, use one of the natural remedies listed below to make it go away or mature fast and empty out the liquid pus by itself which will make it heal completely.
Natural Remedies for boils
The most common remedy for boils is the use of pharmaceutical antibiotics but because of their harm to our body and their tendency to make infections resistant to them over time, I often opt for natural remedies available in Nigeria and are also found in west Africa. They include:
Cassia occidentalis Herb
Scientific Name: Cassia occidentalis
English Name: Coffee Senna
Hausa Name: Rai Dore, Majampari
Cassia Occidentalis usually called rai-dore in hausa language is very effective in treating boils. Its name “rai-dore ” roughly means continuous life because it is available in all the seasons.
This herb is often seen as a weed because it grows almost every where by the roadside, wet areas, in the bush, etc. if you are in Africa, especially west Afria, just check your compound or not far from your fence and i am sure you will find it.
For physical application
- Pound a handful of the washed and cleaned fresh leaves of this herb.
- Add the powder of red potash to the leaves and pound well until its juice is mixed with leaves well
- Apply directly on the boil and leave it for at-least 2 hours. Ideally, apply it overnight for maximum effect.
For oral application:
- Boil a handful of the fresh leaves and take the water twice a day. Morning and evening after meals. One handful should be enough for the day. Take for about 7 days to avoid the boil form coming back.
- this is not advised for pregnant women because some parts of the plant can harm the baby.
You will need to do both oral and physical application methods to properly teat the boil completely. This is very effective as I was told though I have not used it yet. If you end up using it, let me know if it helped you in the comments below.
Herb 10 natural antibiotic
It is very important that antibiotics or treatments that involve oral remedies are used in the treatment of boils and other infection else, they can keep re-appearing after treatment because the infection is still in the body.
This natural antibiotic is the one I always use whenever I have a boil and it work in two ways for me. Either it clears the infection and the boil altogether so that the tenderness and discoloration goes away completely or it makes the boil mature within few days so that the pus will ooze out by itself and the infection can heal. Without the pus oozing out once matured, it cannot properly heal.
Herb 10 is the name of the product which was developed from well researched herbs and formulations of madicinal plants from the herbalpoint company. It clears infections fast in my experience and without adverse effects on the body unlike conventional antibiotics.
- Take the antibiotic as directed on the product pack.
- Open a teabag of the herb and mix the dried leaves with some water just to make it moist and sticky.
- Apply the moist herbs on the boil 2-3 times in a day or as much as it is convenient for you.
Once the boil bursts or disappears, you don’t have to continue applying the moist herbs on the boil but it is very important that you complete your antibiotic dosage as we know or if you have has much experience with these things, they can come back very easily.
This is a common and effective home remedy for boils and you have probably heard of it. A warm clean towel or cotton cloth is used to fasten the boil to develop pus which will eventually drain from the boil so that it can begin to heal. The towel can be soaked in warm water (not hot water just warm enough that you can touch it without burning your hands) and wringed dry before being folded and gently placed on the boil.
Some recommend for gentle pressure to be applied on the boil with your hand (without puncturing the boil) and then you rinse the cloth again and repeat placing it on the boil. You can do this at least twice a day with each session lasting 15-20 minutes. Once the boil has formed a head, it will burst by itself so far you continue applying the warm compress. Once it bursts, wash the area with an anti-bacterial soap or just plain soap and apply an anti-bacterial oil to it e.g garlic oil, ginger oil etc.
Try and get an antibiotic natural or otherwise to complete your treatment. Remember, never pop the boil as I said earlier. Let it burst by itself.
Most of the time, boils can be treated home without medical intervention however, when it is not getting better despite trying a number of home remedies, a reoccurring boil, an abnormally large boil or when it is located at a vulnerable part of the body e.g. spine, face then, it is time to go see a doctor for some more help.
Prevention is better than cure as they say which is why maintaining good hygiene, treating minor cuts from shaving and other daily activities to prevent infection, careful washing of the clothes of someone with boils to prevent the spread of infection is good practice. These can go a long way in preventing boils from developing on your body.
Boils can take anytime from a few days to some weeks to heal properly so try and be patient with it despite the pain and discomfort. Remember to wash your hands and the cloth used for the compress (if using) properly to prevent the spread of the infection to other people or other places in the body.
The remedies I mentioned can all be found including in Nigeria easily. Do try these remedies and let me know if they worked for you in the comments below. I hope you get well soon if you are battling this infection
Please rate this article below and let me know if you liked this article or not so that I can improve in my writing skills.
Thank you for stopping by and have a nice day.