A boil means you have a deep infection of a hair follicle. This infection is caused by bacteria which remain in the hair follicle. The skin around the hair follicle becomes red and swollen. A pus-filled head will often appear. It’s also possible for several boils to develop next to each other. This is also known as a carbuncle. You can also be a carrier of the staphylococcus bacteria. This bacteria can cause you to suffer from boils more often.
The places where boils are most common are:
- the groin;
- the armpits;
- the buttocks;
- the face;
- the neck;
- And the nose.
It will start with a red spot appearing on your skin. This will swell up and become increasingly more painful. A pus-filled head will form in the centre of that spot. This can be yellow or black. In most cases, the spot will break open on its own. This will drain the pus and allow the infection to heal. The spot can sometimes be more stubborn and you’ll need to see a doctor for this.Overzicht gezondheidsklachten
You can treat the boil yourself by:
- Not touching, squeezing or scratching the spot.
- Allowing the spot to break open on its own and rinse off the pus with lukewarm water.
It’s also important for you to think about hygiene. This will ensure you don’t spread the bacteria in the boil to others. For example, you should:
- Thoroughly wash your hands.
- Use your own towel. Grab a new one every day.
- Cut your nails. This will prevent them from getting too long and for you to start scratching.
- Wash your body with soap which contains chlorhexidine 2 to 3 times a week.
- Be well-informed about hygiene measures if you work in a hospital, a care home, the food industry or the catering industry. You can contact your company doctor for advice.
You should contact your GP if:
- The boil hasn’t broken open after a few weeks and is very painful.
- Your skin is not healing properly.
- There are several boils in one place. Your GP can then refer you to the surgeon in the hospital. This is especially necessary if the infection is deep.
- You regularly suffer from boils and/or are a staphylococcus bacteria carrier.