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Jan 30, 2014

Healthy Living addresses a common skin infection

It’s one of the more unsightly and uncomfortable skin infections that you can encounter. Let’s face it: Boils can be a literal pain. In tonight’s Healthy Living, we get some advice on how best to treat and prevent this common infection.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Your skin begins to redden; it has gotten increasingly tender to touch. It may have started as a bite or scratch or cut but now it begins to feel firm and hard and even more tender.  Eventually, the center of the area softens and becomes filled with infection-fighting white blood cells, also called pus. You have a boil. They are painful and unsightly. The good news is they are easy to treat & can be prevented.

 

Dr. Jorge Lopez Granja, Dermatologist

Jorge Lopez Granja

“A boil is a skin infection it is a skin infection usually caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. That’s what a boil is. For a boil to occur there always has to be irritation; some minor cut or scrape on the skin or around the hair follicle for the bacteria to be able to go into the skin.”

 

If you develop a boil; most of the times you can take care of it at home on your own. This however, does not mean squeezing it.

 

Dr. Jorge Lopez Granja

“If you’re not someone who has diabetes, renal failure, renal issues, if you’re pretty much healthy what you can do first of all, you don’t squeeze it, you don’t do anything. What happens if you squeeze it is that most of the times you make the infection go deeper into the skin and then this could lead to another infection which is called cellulitis which is a little bit more sever and that definitely would need antibiotic. You don’t squeeze the boil, the first thing you do is apply warm packs for two three times day for ten to fifteen minutes. Actually what it does it reinforces the blood flow to that area so that the body can recruit more cells to fight the infection.  Once you’re doing the warm packs; that actually helps for that head to form quicker and then sometimes helps the boil to rupture on its own.”

 

This home treatment needs to be consistently done to be effective.  Follow up care includes washing the area with soap and water and keeping it covered until it heals. Much to the individual’s discomfort, this process may take about ten to fourteen days but proper treatment can prevent a worse infection and scarring. Dr Lopez stresses that antibiotics are not necessary.

A doctor will only recommend antibiotic treatment if you are suffering an impaired immune system, are diabetic or have renal problems. The other reason would be if you find yourself developing boils repeatedly.

 

Dr. Jorge Lopez Granja

“Anyone can develop a boil but usually when you have somebody that has been having boils on a recurrent basis. We find that that these persons would be what we call asymptomatic carriers of that bacteria which is supposed to be somewhere around ten to twenty percent of the overall population. According to studies they’ve done so some people have the bacteria on their skin; those are the ones who tend to have boils more frequently. In my experience, what I see a lot is, people that would be having boils, several or many times for the year, so with those people we have to start a plan of action, we take that they are part of the twenty to thirty percent of the carriers, as we call them, so we will advise them to take special showers, with special antibacterial washes for a week, a month. In those people we also recommend the use of topical antibiotics in the areas of the body in which we know this bacteria is waiting to infect it.”

 

In terms of prevention; it’s all about the basic good hygiene practices.

 

Dr. Jorge Lopez Granja

“The problem mostly comes from the hands. So, we plant bacteria in area when we scratch for example and that’s when this happens. First of all whenever you have a cut or scratch on your skin, try not to mess with. Just clean it with soap and water. Wash your hands regularly. Hand sanitizer has proven to be very effective in preventing skin infections. The old fashioned hand washing is still the gold standard.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Healthy Living addresses a common skin infection”

  1. Evelyn Kelly says:

    Boil is very irritating skin problem and is mostly caused by a germ that enters the body through cuts. Neck, face, armpits and shoulders are the most common places for appearing boils. I agree on your point of applying home treatments for treating skin infection, as there haven’t any side effects of using them. Dr. Jorge…thanks a lot for this informative resource.

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