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Start > Resource centre > Articles > Boils Part 2

Traditionally it is often thought that boils need to be covered with special pastes in order to draw them. Personally, I think that the only useful and necessary treatment is warmth. Put a wrapped hot water bottle over the dressed boil, and not only will the boil be encouraged to burst, but the pain will be relieved. Once the boil has burst, all you need to do is change the dressing, being careful to burn each old dressing as quickly as you can, and to wash the skin round the boil with soapy water, or water into which a little antiseptic has been poured. Boils are very infectious. They are made up of bacteria and dead cells.

If someone in your family suffers from recurrent boils, then it is possible that one member of the family is acting as a carrier. A nose swab from each member of the family is usually a good idea. The organisms responsible for boils often live in the nostrils. Anyone who gets lots of boils should have his urine tested for sugar, since diabetes is a condition which can make the development of boils more likely.

Get medical advice about a boil if it is very large or very painful, or doesn't look like bursting itself. You should also see a doctor if red lines appear on the skin around a boil, since these may suggest that the infection is spreading.

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


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