A boil occurs when the skin becomes infected and fills with pus. You can usually treat a boil at home by getting it to open with a heat compress. Once the pus starts draining, you can start applying bandages. However, you must properly prepare the area before applying the bandage so the boil continues to drain, stays clean and does not become infected.
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Continue to use a warm compress. You want the boil to remain open and not close back up. So, use the warm compress for three days after the boil has opened, states Dr. Rodney Basler, a dermatologist at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. Simply place a clean, warm washcloth over the area for at least 20 minutes three times a day.
Clean the skin before bandaging it. You do not want any dirt or bacteria to get into the area. Thus, you must wash the area with an antibacterial soap and warm water at least three times a day.
Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to the area to reduce the risk of infection. Follow the directions on the bottle. Don't forget to do this after you have washed the area.
Gently apply the bandage to the affected area. Always put the bandage on the area after cleansing it and applying the ointment to protect it from dirt and bacteria. You can use any bandage big enough to safely protect the area.
Tips and warnings
- Don't forget to wash bed linens, towels and wash cloths that have come into contact with a person with boils.
- Call your doctor if you have diabetes and develop a boil.
- Call a doctor if your boil does not open up after a week of applying warm compresses.
- Consult a doctor if your boil is accompanied by pain or fever.
- Seek medical help if the area around the boil is swollen and develops red streaks or other skin discolouration.
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