What Over the Counter Medicine is Best for Boils?

(Last Updated: Jun 9, 2006)


What causes boils on the body?

Boils, also known as carbuncles, can be described as bumps that are seen under the skin. They can be quite painful and are usually filled with pus. There are many reasons to what causes boils on the body and therefore awareness of these factors will help in prevention and treatment of boils. Boils usually start off as small bumps that are red in color and tender to the touch, but they grow larger within a short span of time. They usually last for a few days, or perhaps even weeks (depending on their size), after which they rupture and drain. Not only are boils very painful, they can be quite unsightly too. For some people, boils are merely an ugly nuisance, but for others they can be a cause of tremendous pain and discomfort. In some cases, people could also get a fever, because of a boil.

A boil occurs due to a bacterial infection or inflammation in one or more hair follicles. The bacteria usually responsible for the formation of boils on the skin are the Staphylococcus Aureus. The boil-causing staph bacteria usually enter the body through any kind of break on the skin. When this happens, specialized white blood cells known as neutrophils, try to fight off the infection, by rushing to the site. The inflammation actually occurs because of this and that is when pus is formed in the area. This pus is a mixture of bacteria, white blood cells and dead skin. Although anyone can develop boils, there are some factors that can increase the risks, which include contact with a person who is already infected, suffering from diabetes, low immunity or other skin conditions. Most people tend to leave boils untreated, because they are so common. However, at times boils could lead to blood poisoning, which is why it should always be checked and treated by a doctor.

What are the different treatments for boils?

The diagnosis of a boil is not complicated; a doctor just needs to conduct a physical exam and see how bad the infection is. In case the boil is not very serious, the health care provider may first as the patient to use some natural remedies for boils on skin. One of the first steps recommended is the application of a warm compress, which not only relieves the pain to some extent, but also leads to natural drainage. This is usually the suggested treatments for boils on buttocks, arms, torso and underarms. In case this form of treatment does not seem to be very effective, then it may be best to opt for medication for boils.

In most cases, doctors advise people against the use of over the counter boil treatment. In case the infection is quite severe, most doctors prescribe antibiotics to get rid of the boils fast. This is usually the form of treatment that is also administered in case of boils that are a result of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MSRA) infections. Another way of dealing with a large boil is by making an incision on the site of the boil and allowing the pus to drain out. There are several patients who do not seem to respond to standard treatment or who suffer from recurrent infections, perhaps due to a weakened immune system. In this case, the drainage may need to be cultured by the doctor. A small bit of pus is collected using a sterile swab and the sample is sent to a lab for analysis.

How to get rid of boils fast?

In many instances, people cannot wait to get rid of the boil, especially if it is in a place like the face, the underarm, the buttocks, and so on. At times, there are boils that are large and very painful; patients suffer from a tremendous amount of discomfort, due to such boils. Some of them may find it difficult to perform their day to day activities because of these boils. Over the counter medication for boils usually takes a while to bring about the desired results, which may not suit such patients. In these cases, it is best to consult a doctor, for the quickest way in which the boil can be treated. In such instances, the doctors drain the boils by making an incision on the tip. This not only relieves the pain, but also reduces the chances of scarring and expedites the recovery process. If the infection is deep, then the doctor may not be able to drain the pus completely. In such cases, the health care provider usually packs the site with some sterile gauze so that the pus can continue to drain even after the incision has been made.

However, this procedure can be quite complicated and therefore, it should only be carried out by a doctor or a medical expert. Many people who try this technique at home can actually worsen the boil, causing the infection to spread to other parts of the body. Hence, people are strongly recommended to refrain from pricking or draining the boil at home, unless they have been instructed by a doctor to do so.

Is there a natural cure for boils?

One of the most effective natural remedies for boils is applying a warm compress, for at least 10 minutes or so at a time. This exercise should be repeated after a few hours, for best results. Many health experts also advise people to soak the compress in water to which salt has been added, so that the boil can burst and drain more quickly.

One of the other natural remedies for boils on face, buttock, arms, underarms and thighs is Tea Tree Oil. This oil has been used by people for centuries, because of its antiseptic properties. It also contains antibacterial and antibiotic properties, which is why some alternate healers advise people to apply it topically on the boil. However, Tea Tree Oil should only be used in minute quantities and that too after it has been diluted. Some people have been known to experience side effects like allergic reactions and burning sensation after using this remedy and therefore, it is best to consult a doctor in case of any problems. One of the natural remedies for boils on buttocks, face and other parts of the body is strict hygienic measures. In fact, taking a bath with an antibacterial soap will not only get rid of the boils, but will also prevent them from coming back. Boils are quite serious and therefore, they should be treated accordingly. There is a lot of information available on treating them at home. However, it is best for people to seek medical help in order to deal with this problem.

answered by G R

Rather than OTC medications, we suggest some really good and inexpensive natural home treatments for boils in our article Home Remedies for Boils”

answered by P P


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