Boils (Folliculitis or Furuncles) - Symptoms

Introduction Causes Symptoms Treatments

What boils look like

A boil starts as a small itchy or tender spot that grows over a few days into a large red lump under the skin surface becoming increasingly painful and tender. Boils in the nose or ear can be particularly uncomfortable. At this stage it may come to a head and eventually burst through the surface of the skin, releasing its content of pus, or it may settle gradually without bursting. A healed boil tends to leave a red mark, which slowly goes, usually leaving a small scar. Boils may occur singly or in clusters.

Diagnosing boils

Boils They are usually straightforward to diagnose by their appearance. If a boil releases pus, this can be sent to the laboratory to establish the sensitivity of the bacteria to a range of antibiotics, in cases where boils keep appearing.

Boils can be cured.  Infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus settle with treatment. However the organism may linger on, or be picked up again from someone else, so that further infections can occur later.

The bacteria survive best in moist areas such as the nostrils, the armpits and the groin, and some people carry the Staphylococcus aureus at these sites on a long-term basis. If repeated infection occurs, it is wise to treat these areas to get rid of the germs persisting there.