Ugh. That red skin bump now seems pus-filled. Located in your armpit, this boil needs treatment, and you need relief. For boils, rashes, and other skin conditions which persist, contact your Buffalo dermatologist, Dr. Anthony S. Dee. At the Dermatologic Center for Excellence, Dr. Dee and his professional staff deal with a wide variety of skin conditions. Boils are one of the most common.
What is a boil?
It's a red, raised, itchy tender bump typically associated with a hair follicle or sweat gland in the epidermis ie the topmost layer of the skin. Also called a furuncle, a boil may be infected with Staph aureus, a prevalent bacteria which attacks the skin, particularly in areas of moisture (such as the groin) or if the person is immunosuppressed from diabetes, cancer therapy or other health condition.
When grouped in multiples, furuncles are called carbuncles. These boils are particularly painful as are pilonidal cysts, which are infected boils located in the fold of skin between the buttocks. Other common types of boils include sties, small boils associated with the eyelids and lashes, and hidradenitis suppurativa, which often occur in hairy areas such as the armpits or groin.
What you can do
Many boils are self-limiting, coming to a head within five to seven days. Never squeeze or lance a boil at home, as this can only aggravate the lesion or cause further infection.
Instead, apply warm compresses three times a day for 20 to 30 minutes each. Once the furuncle opens, says Harvard Health, cover it with a sterile compress (4x4 or larger as needed), and use over the counter antibiotic cream or ointment to combat infection.
If, however, the boil increases in size, discoloration or tenderness, does not resolve within a week, interferes with your ability to move, or you develop a fever, contact your Buffalo dermatologist for an examination. Likely, Dr. Dee will prescribe oral antibiotics and may lance the boil to relieve the pressure.
Professional evaluation and treatment reduce the changes of sepsis, or superinfection, throughout the body. Your skin doctor also expertly lances boils, thus avoiding scar formation.
In the future...
If you seem prone to boil formation, there are steps you can take to prevent them. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends:
- Daily washing and thorough drying of all areas of the skin.
- Using clean razor blades in areas shaved on a regular basis.
- Seeing your skin doctor routinely for skin evaluations and recommendations on how to keep ahead of acne.
- Staying dry by changing clothing, particularly underwear, on hot, humid days.
Do you have a boil?
We can help. At the Dermatologic Center for Excellence, Dr. Dee sees and treats numerous boils. He'll set up a treatment plan to take care of yours and to help keep them from returning. For more information or to book an appointment, please call the office at (716) 636-3376. We have early morning hours!