May 1, 2016

Boils (Skin Abscesses)

What are risk factors for boils?

Anyone can develop a boil. However, people with certain illnesses or who take certain medications that weaken the body's immune system (the natural defense system against foreign materials or microbes) are more likely to develop boils. Illnesses that are associated with impaired immune systems include diabetes and kidney failure. Diseases in which there is inadequate antibody production (such as hypogammaglobulinemia) can increase the tendency to develop boils.

Many medications can suppress the normal immune system and increase the risk of developing boils and other infections. These medications include cortisone medications (prednisone [Deltasone, Liquid Pred] and prednisolone [Pediapred Oral Liquid, Medrol]) and medications used for cancer chemotherapy.


How are boils diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a boil can be made by observation of the typical signs and symptoms. Blood tests or specialized laboratory tests are not required to make the diagnosis of a boil. If the infection within a boil has spread to deeper tissues or is extensive, cultures of the pus may be taken from the wound area to identify the precise type of bacteria responsible for the infection. This can guide the choice of antibiotics for treatment. Continue Reading

6/10
Reviewed on 2/19/2016
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