Boils, also called risens and furuncles, are round, raised bumps on the skin filled with puss and caused by a Staphylococcus bacteria infection. Boils often develop around a hair follicle root, and often occur in children and adolescents, although adults can also get them. Several factors can trigger a boil to rise up on the skin, such as stress, allergies, a weakened immune system, illness, toxicity and thyroid imbalances. There are several things you can do to reduce your odds of developing a boil.
Wash your hands periodically throughout your day. Use a mild soap with warm water, or an alcohol-based hand rub. This is even more important after you've touched an existing boil, as it eliminates bacteria from your hands.
Limit personal items to your own personal use. Towels, razors, athletic equipment, undergarments and other personal items can spread bacteria and germs, and staph infections often transfer through sharp objects and open wounds, according to MayoClinic.com. Wash towels and other garments in hot water with bleach to kill any possible infectious organisms.
Clean small scrapes, cuts and other open wounds with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub. After cleaning the wound, apply an antibiotic ointment to disinfect the wound and prevent the risk of a boil developing. In addition, cover the wound with a bandage or sterile pad to prevent bacteria from entering into the wound.
If you suffer from boils repeatedly, consult your doctor to determine the cause of these recurring boils. Identifying an agitating influence, such as stress, can help you develop means of controlling or avoiding this factor and curbing its effect on your boils.
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.