Boils: Maintaining personal hygiene must


Many of us have gone through the pain of pilo (boil) at least once in our lifetime. Boils can appear on any part of the body. It is a superficial skin infection involving the hair follicle.

Reddish bumps

There is an appearance of a reddened bump on the skin whenever there is a boil. Skin around the bump starts to swell. The size of the bump then starts increasing. The head of the bump later on is fills with pus. Spontaneous oozing of the puss from the bump can be visible. Such inflammation occurs due to the toxin of the staphylococcal bacteria. A person can at times suffer multiple boils and not just one. They can reoccur as well. Moreover, when there is a systemic manifestation, the patient will have fever and loss of appetite.

This bacteria is present in the human body and can be found in the nose, armpits, perineal areas of the body (genital area between the vulva and anus in a woman, and between the scrotum and anus in a man). If proper hygiene is not maintained, then one suffers from boils.

“This skin infection can be contacted by sharing of clothes and this is the reason why one shouldn’t share clothing items with one another,” informed Dr Mahesh Shah, Consultant Dermatologist at Anandaban Hospital, Lele.

This infection can also be transmitted from hospitals due to lack of hygiene. Touching the infected area must be avoided. “It even transfers when a patient is improperly handled. This is why hygiene must be well maintained,” informed Dr Shah.

There is more prominence of the bacteria when there is high humidity. This is why people suffer from boils during such weather. In addition, a number of patients suffer from the infection during the hot weather because they do not maintain proper hygiene.

Boils can spread to another part of the body or to another person. “However, one can help prevent the spreading of boils by taking precautions such as carefully disposing of used dressings and washing your hands after touching the affected areas of the skin,” suggested Dr Shah.

Tight clothes, nylon, synthetic clothing aggravate the infection. So, people are advised to wear clothes made of cotton. Loose fitting clothes too can be helpful.Common in children There isn’t a single group of

people who do not suffer from the infection. Anyone from any age group can be victims of this skin infection in any age of their life. But it could be severe in those who have immune compromised status like HIV, renal transplants, people suffering from cancer, diabetes et cetera. “This happens because of lower immunity in them,” informed Dr Shah.

Along with such person, the infection is more common in children as their immunity isn’t properly developed and they can’t maintain their personal hygiene. This is why parents must be conscious about their child/children’s health and hygiene.

Condition in Nepal

This skin infection is one of the most common skin infections here. Most of the people in the country pop the boil with a needle and start squeezing it. This usually results in making the infection worse. “Such an action must not be practised as it can lead to damage of tissues in the body. One must visit a nearby dermatologist if s/he has boils,” suggested Dr Shah.

After the earthquake many people are still living in makeshift tents. Sharing of rooms and beds aid in the spreading of the infection. Forceful hair removal such as waxing too can lead to boils. When the infection is left untreated, it can lead to ulcer and scar. “Patients can get septicaemia (potentially life-threatening infection in which large amounts of bacteria is present in the blood) but this is quite rare,” informed the doctor.

People here are seen putting a paste of gokul dhup, fenugreek seeds (methi) and taking varieties of blood purifiers to get rid of boils. Some of them are also seen visiting Ganesh temple at Chabahil to offer a needle for the deity to get rid of the infection. However, all such myths have nothing to do with the infection or its cure. “Rather eating a balanced diet to increase the immunity power in the body, taking a bath daily and maintaining personal hygiene can lower the risks of getting such skin infections,” informed the doctor.