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Boils are bumps in the skin which are often filled with pus.  Boils are formed under the skin when the hair follicles are infected by the staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria . They are commonly found in areas where there is hair and friction. Mosquito and other insect bites also cause a bump on the skin, but the swelling is due to the toxins in the  bite. Boils are a very common skin infection and are usually treated at home. Boils are also called furuncles.

A boil usually appears as a painful swelling on the skin. The staph bacteria enter the skin through a cut or scratch in the skin.  A bump is formed after a day or two. To fight the bacteria , the body's immune system creates a fibrous wall around the boil to prevent the infection from spreading and transports white blood cells to fight the bacteria.  As the boil develops, the amount of pus in the boil increases. The pus consists of  dead bacteria, white blood cells and dead skin tissue. After some time, the boil bursts and the pus gets drained out or it solidifies and the pus is expelled from the body. There is usually a scar on the skin for larger boils.

Persons suffering from diseases like diabetes which reduce the immunity of  the body to various infections are more likely to suffer from boils. Tight clothing  irritates the skin and may cause cuts through which the bacteria enter the skin. It is advisable to wear loose clothing  wherever possible. Even small cuts and scratches in the skin should be washed thoroughly with soap and water, and an antibiotic should be applied.

Boils usually heal within 2 weeks, but by treating properly, they heal quickly. Boils can be treated by applying a home made cloth bandage dipped in warm salt water to the affected area. This will help the boil burst and drain more quickly. Wash the boil a few times a day and apply an antibiotic. Do not squeeze the boil and wash hands after treating the boil to prevent further infection.

Tea tree oil is a home remedy for treating boils as it has antibacterial properties. A paste of turmeric and milk can be applied on the boil, so that it heals quickly. Some people find a juice of garlic and onion effective. Drink plenty of water, since the body will try to eliminate waste through the skin , if it is unable to get rid of it through other means. Garlic helps to detoxify the body . Unprocessed fruits and vegetables  should be included in the diet.

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