Cavallo & Horlick Dermatology

631-732-9090Suffolk - Pt Jefferson Station
1500 Route 112 Bldg 6
Pt. Jefferson Sta., NY 11776

516-921-2294Nassau - Woodbury
169 Froehlich Farm Blvd.
Woodbury, NY 11797

How Can I Tell If I Have a Boil?

Published on February 6, 2019

Boils are a common form of skin infection that usually originates in the hair follicles or in the oil glands. When a boil first appears, the surrounding skin area turns red and a soft lump develops in the region.

Pus begins to collect inside this lump and after 5 to 7 days, the lump turns white in color. The most common places for boils to appear are on the face, neck, armpits, shoulders, and buttocks. If a group of boils appears in a region together, then it is a more serious form of infection known as a carbuncle.

Boils are caused by a bacterium known as staphylococcal bacteria. This bacterium enters the body through small cuts in the skin or can also travel along the hair and reach the follicle. Some of the known conditions that make people more vulnerable to such forms of infection are diabetes, complications with the immune system, poor nutrition, poor hygiene, and exposure to harsh and damaging chemicals.

Symptoms of Boil

A boil begins as a red lump that is hard and painful. It is about an inch in size and over the course of a few days, the lump begins to grow softer, bigger, and increasingly more painful. A collection of pus forms on top of the lump, giving it a white speck. Some of the common signs of severe infections associated with boils are mentioned below.

• If the skin around the boil becomes infected, it becomes warm, painful, red, and swollen.

• If more boils begin to appear around the initial boil, then it is a sign of severe infection.

• If there is a fever accompanied by the appearance of the boil.

• If lymph nodes become swollen after the appearance of a boil.

Boils are not associated with severe medical conditions that need emergency medical attention. But if you feel an onset of fevers and chills along with the appearance of the boil, or if there are any issues with your immune system, or with the use of immunosuppressive drugs, then it is a cause for concern and a trip to the hospital is advised.

Remedies For Boils

It is advised to soak the boil in warm water and apply warm compresses. This will help in decreasing the pain and will pull the pus to the surface of the boil. After repeated soakings, the boil will eventually bursts pouring out the accumulated pus.

It takes about ten days for the boil to reach this stage. The easiest way to do this is to take a washcloth soaked in warm water and apply it over the boil. Doing this repeatedly squeezes out the moisture.

Once the boil has started to drain, you should immediately apply antibacterial agents such as ointments and soap to clear out the pus completely. Once the pus is gone, the area can be treated with rubbing alcohol, an ointment, and a bandage over the wound.

The wounded area should be washed two to three times every day until it is completely healed. It is strongly advised that you never pop the boil with a pin as it can increase the chances of infection.

Contact Our Long Island Dermatology Office

For expert advice on all of your skin issues, contact the Long Island dermatologists at Dermatology Cavallo & Horlick. Their expertise will help you reveal your natural beauty.


Woodbury & Port Jefferson Station, NY

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