Hair on the human body shoots out from a small sac in the skin. This sac is known as the hair follicle. When the hair follicle is infected, it causes a boil. The boil usually appears red in color and is painful. As in the case of any infection, this is also fought by white cells at the hair follicle, resulting in pus formation. The boil swells further due to pus formation. Finally, the boil bursts and the pus drains out. The sites where boils can usually occur are the face, neck, armpits, buttocks, and thighs. A weak immune system also becomes a cause of boils. However, among teenagers and adolescents, this is very common. Even though treatment is not required for boils generally, if the infection roots into the skin deeply causing cellulitis, antibiotics are prescribed to avoid further complications.
The head of the boil appears as a dot in the center of the boil. It is either red in color or white. This dot develops when the pus forms in the boil. The boils can grow up to the size of a golf ball too. The scar is not left after the cure of the boil, in most of the cases. Medical treatment is required if the boil is large or if it causes severe pain. Boil persisting for more than a week also should be treated. Visit your doctor immediately if you have a high fever associated with boils. You should also seek medical attention if you have frequent problems with boils. Boils on the face area to be treated properly to avoid complications. Patients having AIDs or diabetes and patients undergoing chemotherapy should treat the boil no sooner it develops as their immune system would be in a weakened condition.
The bacteria are known as staphylococcus aureus, or staph bacteria, infect the hair follicle and cause boils. These bacteria can affect many hair follicles to cause a cluster of boils. These bacteria can survive on the skin, inside the nose, and throat. The skin normally guards the body against the attack of bacteria, but possibilities are there for the staph bacteria to enter the skin sometimes. They can gain entry through a cut or lesion or it can enter into the hair follicle. When infection by staph bacteria takes place, the immune system of the body reacts. White blood cells are sent to the site of infection to attack the bacteria. In this battle, many blood cells and skin cells perish. These dead cells with dead bacteria from a buildup known as pus.
The risk factors which increase the chances of boil formation include health conditions such as diabetes and HIV. Certain medications which can weaken the immune system also increase the risk of boil formation. Steroids and chemotherapy are some examples of this. Certain skin conditions like eczema or acne also increase the risk of boil formation. In diabetic patients, the level of blood sugar used to be high, disabling the efficiency of the immune system to protect against the infection caused by staph bacteria, whereas, HIV weakens the immune system and staph infection goes unchecked. It is therefore very necessary for these patients to give immediate medical attention if they develop boils.