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boil is a skin infection that starts in a hair follicle or oil gland.  It usually starts as a red, tender lump and after four to seven days, the lump then fills with pus, grows larger and more painful until it ruptures and drains.


Most boils are caused by Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria commonly found on the skin and inside the nose. This bacteria enters the body through tiny cuts in the skin from a small injury or an insect bite. The bacteria can also travel down the hair to the follicle.

Certain health problems make people more susceptible to skin infections such as;

  • Poor hygiene
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals that irritate the skin
  • Diabetes
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Poor nutrition


A boil usually starts as a hard, red, painful lump and over the next few days, the lump becomes softer, larger, and more painful. A pocket of pus forms on the top of the boil thereafter. A yellow-white tip later develops. This eventually ruptures and allows the pus to drain out.


A small boil can usually be treated at home, but see your doctor if you have more than one boil at a time or if a boil;

  • Additional symptoms, such as a high temperature or feeling generally unwell
  • A secondary infection, such as cellulitis (an infection of the deeper layer of the skin)
  • Occurs on the face
  • Gets worse or is extremely painful
  • Causes a fever
  • Has not healed in two weeks
  • Reoccurs

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