Abscess of the skin caused by bacterial infection of a hair follicle or sweat gland; also known as furuncle
Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved: The skin and its hair follicles and glands.
Symptoms and indications: A painful red swelling or lump, which usually comes up quite quickly and may be fairly large. Also, there is swelling of lymph glands close to the site of the boil and the person may feel feverish. The boils usually
Causes and risk factors: A boil is caused by a bacterial infection at the base of a hair and the organism involved is usually Staphyloccus aureus, or the organism may enter through a small cut or nick in the skin. The bacteria can spread by contact with an infected person or an infected article, such as a washcloth or towel.
Prevention: To prevent new eruption, the skin needs to be kept cool and dry. Washing the entire body with an antiseptic soap twice a day is also recommended. If boils frequently recur, unclothing and bed linen should be changed daily. Instead of reaching for sugary or fat-laden foods, choose whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and small amounts of lean protein. Never squeeze or lance a boil, because you might spread the infection.