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Q: Need medical help on nursing 'boils' ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Need medical help on nursing 'boils'
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: nanaof2-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 20 Oct 2002 12:06 PDT
Expires: 19 Nov 2002 11:06 PST
Question ID: 85541
My husband gets lots of 'boils' in different
Some have no head, and therefore do not drain - and some do.
They get 'hot' around the area, hurt a lot, become extremely red, and
we cannot find anything to apply except drawing salve (which doesn't
always work) neosporin ointment (which doesn't always work).  Please
give us some help!
Subject: Re: Need medical help on nursing 'boils'
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 27 Oct 2002 20:35 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

How kind you are to ask this question on behalf of your hubby! Before
I start my answer, I must ask you if your husband has seen a doctor
for this problem. While many people may successfully treat their own
boils, others  may have an underlying condition that makes them more
predisposed to dermatological problems.

I will list the causes and some over-the-counter treatments of boils,
but this information is not intended to replace sound medical care by
a physician. You seem to be sure that your husband has boils, and this
is what I will address. Please be aware that there are numerous skin
infections, and it would take a visit to your health-care provider for
a definitive diagnosis.

Diabetics, as well as renal/dialysis patients are especially prone to
boils, known as furuncles in medical terminology. Boils often have pus
and fluid in the center, but not always. The “heat” that you describe
is due to inflammation, and infection. Often a white, slightly bloody
substance oozes from the boil. Your doctor can open a boil, and take a
sample of this fluid. The sample is sent to a clinical laboratory for
identification of the causative organism. After the culprit is
identified, the lab can determine which antibiotic will  be the most
effective  for your husband’s boils. This particular test is called
“Culture and Sensitivity” (or  C&S). Sometimes the doctor can do a
preliminary test  called a Gram Stain, in the office.

A  boil (furnuncle) is a skin infection involving the hair follicle
and its surrounding tissue. Most people  experiences boils at some
time, as about 80% of the population carry the bacteria, Staph aureus,
or Staph epidermidis, the most common bacterial causes of boils.
 “Staphylococcus bacteria are normally found on the skin surface.
Damage to the hair follicle allows the bacteria to enter deeper into
the tissues of the hair follicle and the subcutaneous tissue.
Furuncles may occur in the hair follicles anywhere on the body, but
they are most common on the face, neck, armpit, buttocks, and thighs.
Furuncles are generally caused by Staphylococcus aureus but may be
caused by other bacteria or fungi. They may begin as a tender red
subcutaneous nodule but ultimately become fluctuant (feel like a
water-filled balloon). A furuncle may drain spontaneously, producing
pus. More often the individual, a parent, or a physician opens them.

Furuncles can be single or multiple. Some people have recurrent bouts
with abscesses and little success at preventing them. Furuncles can be
very painful if they occur in areas like the ear canal or nose. A
health care provider should treat furuncles by the nose. Furuncles
that develop close together may expand and join together, a condition
called carbunculosis.”

For some pictures of boils, visit this site. You will need to type in
the word “Boils” in the search box, next to the words “Get Started”.
(The link is not permanent, or I would have included the actual link)

The first step in preventing boils is keeping the skin scrupulously
clean. Get a liquid, antibacterial soap product for bathing. When your
husband gets a cut, scrape or wound of any kind, it is imperative to
clean the wound with an antiseptic. Soaking the affected area in a
warm bath can increase blood supply to the skin, enabling a  slight
infection to clear more rapidly. Some patients need to take
prescription antibiotics for several weeks or months to effectively
clear up an infection, and for this you must see your doctor. Keeping
towels and bedding very clean may help the re-infection and further
spread of the boils. Boil sufferers need to maintain a much higher
level of cleanliness than regular folks.
“Although most antibiotic creams and ointments do little to prevent or
treat skin infections, some newer creams such as mupirocin are
effective for some skin infections. Once an infection spreads,
antibiotics must be taken internally--by mouth or injection.”

For topical ointments, look for the numerous antibacterial ointments,
such as Neosporin, polysporin, or any of the triple antibiotic
ointments. You said these don’t always help cure the problem, but they
probably keep the boil from getting worse. Mupirocin is a 
prescription-only nasal ointment that was mentioned on several
websites as being effective for boils

When looking for an antibacterial wash, look in the pharmacy or
grocery stores for a brand that is pleasing to you. As long as it says
“Anti-bacterial” on the label, it should be effective. Most of the
over the counter washes contain “triclosan”, a germicidal ingredient.
The pharmacist can recommend one as well. There are also prescription
anti-bacterial washes that your doctor can recommend.

nanaof2, what this all boils down to (pun intended) is this: It is
very important to keep the skin, bedding and towels as clean as
possible. Continue with the ointments and the antibacterial skin
washes. Visit your doctor for further treatment if the above does not
improve the condition.

Before you rate this answer, if anything is not totally clear, please
use the Answer Clarification process, and I will attempt to clarify
the answer.

Hope this helps your husband!
crabcakes  (also a Nana of 2 !)
nanaof2-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
The information I received was extremely clear - and gives me some
good reason to insist that this  'hubby of boils' see his doctor the
very next time!!! I think we are in a cycle of boils and all of this
information makes good sense..
Thank you very much for all of the time put into this explanation. All
was appreciated.

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