Boils (Skin Abscesses)
Table of Contents
- Boils facts
- What is a boil? What are boil symptoms and signs?
- What is a boil? What are boil symptoms and signs? (Part 2)
- What is a boil? What are boil symptoms and signs? (Part 3)
- What causes boils to form?
- Boil vs. pimple
- Are boils contagious?
- What are risk factors for boils?
- How are boils diagnosed?
- What are boil treatments and home remedies?
- When should someone seek medical attention for a boil?
- What is the prognosis (outcome) for a boil?
- What kinds of health care specialists treat boils?
- What are complications of boils?
- What can be done to prevent boils (abscesses)?
What is a boil? What are boil symptoms and signs?
A boil is a localized infection in the skin that begins as a reddened, tender area. Over time, the area becomes firm, hard, and increasingly tender. Eventually, the center of the boil softens and becomes filled with infection-fighting white blood cells from the bloodstream to eradicate the infection. This collection of white blood cells, bacteria, and proteins is known as pus. Finally, the pus "forms a head," which can be surgically opened or may spontaneously drain out through the surface of the skin. Pus enclosed within tissue is referred to as an abscess. A boil is also referred to as a skin abscess. Boils can occur anywhere on the body, including the trunk, extremities, buttocks, groin, or other areas.