A boil originates in the death of a small portion of the skin, which generally involves a sweat, or sebaceous, gland. Inflammation is the natural process by which the portion of dead tissue is separated from the living. The boil first appears as a red and somewhat painful nodule in the skin, about the size of a bean or pea. Very soon a white point forms at the apex, swelling spreads about the center, usually attaining about the size of a dollar. At the end of four or five days, the central portion, marked by a white point, becomes loosened, and a discharge occurs consisting of a plug or core, together with matter, blood, and fragments of dead tissue. The suppuration generally ceases in three or four days.

The Treatment of Boils - Furuncles

Boils may often be cut short if treated early by continuous applications of ice. Dr. Eade, of London, claims to have discovered that boils and carbuncles are parasitic diseases, and that the proper treatment is very strong carbolic acid injected into the center of the boil by means of the hypodermic syringe. The best plan to be recommended for general employment is the early application of hot fomentations, by which the pain may be relieved and the natural process hastened. When there is a great deal of general irritability, warm full baths are very advantageous.

If the boil does not open promptly, it should be freely lanced, after suppuration has taken place, as shown by softening. Warm poultices should be continued after lancing. Blind boils should be lanced and poulticed. The practice of squeezing boils is a very injurious one, as the matter is thereby dispersed into the surrounding tissues, often producing a numerous crop of boils in the vicinity of the first one. The discharge of matter should be secured by a large opening and gentle pressure.