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Start > Resource centre > Articles > Boils Part 1

The human body is covered with thousands of tiny hairs. Each one of these tiny hairs grows through the skin from a follicle. If one of these follicles becomes infected, then a swollen, painful, hot, localised red lump can develop. That is a boil. Similarly, if a sweat gland, a sebaceous gland, or even a small cut in the skin, becomes infected, the result may be a boil.

A pimple or spot, by the way, is just an underdeveloped boil. Though they seem to be less common than in the past, boils are still a health hazard to try to avoid. Boils most commonly occur where the skin is rubbed by the clothing. This is why they seem to develop most frequently in places that are most troublesome. The back of the neck, where the collar rubs, is a common site.

When a boil develops, the first thing to remember is not to squeeze! This can just as easily send the pus downwards and into the tissues, as upwards and out into the open. The best treatment is the most simple. Just cover the boil with a dry dressing, and leave it alone to come to a head and burst.

Teacher: Michael
Many articles taken from 'A word with the doctor', by Dr. John Windsor.


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