What are boils?
Boils are the infection of a hair follicle, which we all have in our skin. Boils are also called furuncles and they can vary in size and number. They are painful, reddish and usually found in moist, oily and sweaty areas like the armpits, buttocks and the groin area.
But what causes the problem? Let’s take a look at the causative factors. Knowing what is bringing on the problem is of great use in clearing it up!
See more on boils in this video:
Common examples of what causes boils
- Microorganisms – boils are usually caused by Staphylococcus. It is a group of bacteria that looks like a cluster of grapes. Of its many kinds, the two common causes are the Staphylococcus Aureus and Staphylococcus Albus. These two are both found in the human body under normal levels, but once they get out of control, they can cause infection.
- Low immunity – the body will have decreased protection from diseases due to an underlying medical condition, or due to a medication side effect. Diseases like diabetes lowers the immune system and makes affected people prone to getting boils. Cancer is another disease that increases the susceptibility to acquiring the problem. There are a variety of drugs that lower our immune resistance also.
- Physical hygiene – neglect of hygienic practice makes one at risk for skin infections. Usage of greasy and oily products can block pores and infect the hair follicles. In addition, ingrown hair can also block the pores.
- Poor diet – improper choice of food such as junk food, fast food and those that high in salt and cholesterol puts the person at risk. Obese people are also at a higher risk due to the imbalance in their hormones and metabolism.
- Environmental factors – dirty environment (like slums, dump site), crowded areas (like evacuation centers or refugee huts) are examples of what causes boils development.
- Break in the skin – skin is our first line of defense against microorganisms. Once there is a break, these microorganisms can enter and infect our body. Foreign objects (such as small wood pieces, staple wire) can also lodge in the skin, causing infections to erupt.
- Weather – hot temperatures or the summer season puts people at risk of furuncles. Sweat production are higher during these times and oil glands can get blocked and develop the problem.
- Tight clothing – rubs on skin and does not let the skin breathe.
- Skin disorders – psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis and acne will put affected people at a higher risk .
- Chemicals – strong chemicals like bleach, muriatic acid, insecticides and disinfectants all have harmful side effects to the skin. The pores of the skin can get irritated and therefore, boils can erupt.
- Insects – many kinds of insects can cause boils. One example is the Putzi Fly from Eastern Africa. They lay their eggs in clothing and when it gets in contact with the skin, their eggs will hatch! In time, there will be maggots that are lodging under the skin, causing infection. Travelling in the jungle or tropical areas is also another factor for the development of boils.
Recognise any of these causes of boils? Do all you can to eradicate them and your condition should improve.
For more advice see our page on boils treatment.