Signs and Symptoms of Boils and Carbuncles
A boil (also known as a furuncle) is a bacterial infection of a blocked oil gland or hair follicle. A boil usually appears suddenly as a painful pink or red bump about half an inch in diameter. The surrounding skin also may be red and swollen. Within 24 hours, the bump fills with pus. It grows larger and more painful for five to seven days, sometimes reaching golf-ball size before it develops a yellow-white tip that finally ruptures and drains. Boils generally clear completely in about two weeks. Small boils usually heal without scarring, but a large boil may leave a scar.
A carbuncle is a cluster of boils that often occurs on the back of the neck, shoulders, or thighs, especially in older men. Carbuncles cause a deeper and more severe infection than a single boil. As a result, they develop and heal more slowly and are likely to leave scars.
Causes of Boils and Carbuncles
Recurrent boils are commonly caused by gastrointestinal bacteria which prompt a skin infection. They can also be caused by consuming too much sugar, either refined or even from fruit. Open boils and carbuncles are contagious, therefore, can also be contracted from others. Most small boils that are less than half an inch can be treated at home, but boils that are larger than that and that don't heal with home remedies and require immediate medical care. Boils and carbuncles that are around sensitive areas (for example face, armpits, groin and breasts) should never be squeezed. If you see red lines radiating from the boil or it is accompanied by fever, chills, or swelling in other parts of your body, you should consult with your health provider right away. If you have diabetes, you should always consult with your doctor as soon as any kind of boil or carbuncle appears.
Home Remedies for Boils and Carbuncles
Boils and Carbuncles Home Remedy Using Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been used as an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic agent for centuries. As a result, many people have used it for the treatment of boils and carbuncles since it often speeds up the healing process and relieves discomfort.
- Dab a cotton swab into the tea tree oil.
- Gently apply the oil onto the boil/carbuncle with the swab.
- Dispose of the used swab and be careful that it does not make contact with uninfected parts of your skin to prevent further infections.
- Repeat this several times a day.
Home Remedy for Boils and Carbuncles with Turmeric
Many people have found the spice Turmeric to be an excellent remedy to treat boils and other staph infections. Turmeric is a traditional Ayurvedic spice that is often used as a blood purifier and anti-inflammatory remedy. It can be purchased in powder form from many Indian grocery stores. Using this powder, a simple and effective remedy for boils is the following:
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm water.
- Drink 3 times per day.
- Healing will begin within a few hours.
- Repeat for 3 days.
If you don't like the Turmeric mixture with water, look for Turmeric capsules at a health food store.
NOTE: Regular high doses of turmeric can lead to dehydration and constipation, so be sure to take the above remedy only when necessary, such as when you begin to see signs of a boil. A single weekly dosage of the remedy is also acceptable at other times as a preventative measure.
Hydrotherapy for Boils and Carbuncles
Hydrotherapy, which consists of warm or wet compresses, has been shown to help soothe the pain associated
with boils. By compressing a boil with warmth, blood is drawn to the infected area, which helps the body
fight the infection more quickly.
Washcloth compresses are the best and easy way to treat a boil. Take a clean washcloth and dip it in fairly warm salt water and place it onto the boil. The compress should be very wet and warm and it should be placed on the boil for 10-15 minutes at least 5 times daily. It speeds up the process of bringing the boil to a head, which leads to draining and then healing.
A bread compress is an old folk remedy and people find it works quite well. Soak a slice of bread in warm milk and apply it directly onto the boil. Keep replacing the bread slices to keep the infected boil warm for 15 minutes at a time, four times a day.
Simply place a warm tea bag on the boil for 15 minutes at a time, several times a day.
Heated slices of tomatoes, raw onions, mashed garlic, or the outer leaves of cabbage can be pressed directly onto a boil. Place heated chunks of any of these vegetables onto the boil for at least 15 minutes several times a day. Make sure that you keep the area warm by replacing it with new heated slices whenever you feel the area getting cold.
Natural Remedy for Boils and Carbuncles Using Onions
Onions have been known to contain antiseptic chemicals which can act as an effective antimicrobial irritant. Therefore, they can be used to treat boils by "heating" a boil and drawing blood to the infected area. A simple remedy is the following:
- Cut a thick slice of onion and place it over the boil.
- Wrap the infected area with a cloth.
- Change the onion every three to four hours until the boil comes to a head and drains.
Natural Treatment for Boils and Carbuncles With Black Seed Oil
Black Seed Oil has been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for skin infections including boils/carbuncles. Therefore, a simple boil remedy is to mix half a teaspoon of black seed oil into a hot or cold drink, and take this twice daily during a boil infection.
Herbal Remedy for Boils or Carbuncles Using Echinacea
Echinacea has been found to be effective at healing boils. The active substances in the herb helps to clean your blood and lymph glands, allowing antibodies to circulate better and fight off infections. Therefore, a simple boil remedy is to take two 300mg capsules of Echinacea per day. However, it is not recommended that you take echinacea continuously for longer than two weeks.