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what is a boil??

raingirl
May 3rd, 2005, 11:37 AM
I know..not the most interesting topic, but it's something I've always wondered!

What is a boil??

When I was a kid I got a few, my mom would say, "oh, it's a boil" and she would put a sewing needle under a flame for a few seconds, and peice the boil, let it drain, and wash it, and put a bandaid on it. I was very little though, probably under 5 but I still remember it.

nymph
May 3rd, 2005, 11:44 AM
Is it an abscess caused by burning?

kandy
May 3rd, 2005, 11:52 AM
I think the term boil refers to any type of an abcess formed by an irritation/infection on the skin - kind of like a blister will fill with fluid or an ingrown hair causing a bump like a zit. The actual definition is: "a localized swelling and inflammation of the skin resulting from infection in a skin gland, having a hard central core, and forming pus" (from Websters Collegiate Dictionary).

Eleni
May 3rd, 2005, 11:53 AM
its an abcess but i dont think its caused by burning,


I think its almost like an aggrivae pimple, my mom used to get them and she would have to lay a hto cloth on it for awhile and let it drain


however i found this link with info

http://www.skinsite.com/info_boils.htm

Eleni

BMDLuver
May 3rd, 2005, 11:59 AM
My Mom had what looked very much like a boil on her inner thigh. She did the home remedy route but it didn't clear up well. She went to the doctor and was subsequently diagnosed with Melanoma. She had several more appear through her illness. I know it's a pain but going to the doctor is really the best route when you think it might only be a simple boil. She passed away many years ago but it's something I've never forgotten.

CyberKitten
May 3rd, 2005, 12:38 PM
A boil, also referred to as a skin abscess, is a localized infection deep in the skin. A boil generally starts as a reddened, tender area. Over time, the area becomes firm and hard. Eventually, the center of the abscess softens and becomes filled with infection-fighting white blood cells that the body sends from the blood stream to eradicate the infection. This collection of white blood cells, bacteria, and proteins is known as pus. Finally, the pus "forms a head," which can be surgically opened or spontaneously drain out through the surface of the skin.

The primary treatment for most boils is heat application, usually with hot soaks or hot packs. Heat application increases the circulation to the area and allows the body to better fight off the infection by bringing antibodies and white blood cells to the site of infection.

We don't see them much now since they are typicall caused by uncleanliness and dirt which is a great medium for them to grow. As we as a society have become more well off, boils have gone by the wayside. People with acne though, need to watch to ensure they do not get them and washing frequently is the best preventive measue.

Complications should be treated by a heath care professional.

Karin
May 3rd, 2005, 01:10 PM
A boil, also referred to as a skin abscess, is a localized infection deep in the skin. A boil generally starts as a reddened, tender area. Over time, the area becomes firm and hard. Eventually, the center of the abscess softens and becomes filled with infection-fighting white blood cells that the body sends from the blood stream to eradicate the infection. This collection of white blood cells, bacteria, and proteins is known as pus. Finally, the pus "forms a head," which can be surgically opened or spontaneously drain out through the surface of the skin.

The primary treatment for most boils is heat application, usually with hot soaks or hot packs. Heat application increases the circulation to the area and allows the body to better fight off the infection by bringing antibodies and white blood cells to the site of infection.

We don't see them much now since they are typicall caused by uncleanliness and dirt which is a great medium for them to grow. As we as a society have become more well off, boils have gone by the wayside. People with acne though, need to watch to ensure they do not get them and washing frequently is the best preventive measue.

Complications should be treated by a heath care professional.

Exactly! Boils brew deep and have to fester. When I was a kid I got these painful infections from fish hooks that poked my skin. I was too embarrassed to ask about them so I took matters in my own hands. The relief was welcomed. Personal hygiene goes along way.

Lucky Rescue
May 3rd, 2005, 01:22 PM
We don't see them much now since they are typicall caused by uncleanliness and dirt which is a great medium for them to grow

That is NOT necessarily true. They can be caused by something as simple as an ingrown hair, or a cyst that becomes irritated for one reason or another and abcesses.

Even very clean people can get them.

CyberKitten
May 3rd, 2005, 02:02 PM
I just know what we know from public health. Yes, they can be caused by a "an ingrown hair, or a cyst that becomes irritated" but those causes are way down the list of causes. Lack of cleanliness is number one by far. Now that communities have better infratructures and water treatment facilities, the incidence of boils has gone down exponetially!

Eleni
May 3rd, 2005, 02:25 PM
I wonder if it goes along with the myth that acne is caused by dirty skin.


thats been proven untrue may times, alot of people with very clean skin do have acne.


Eleni

CyberKitten
May 3rd, 2005, 02:59 PM
Are you suggesting that the fact (yes, fact - it is public health 101!) we see so few boils now due in large measure to a better public health infrastructure is a myth? lol Sorry, but that is just basic public health. In the old days - the older docs tell us of lancing boils et al and how life is so much easier now. Many communities did not have very good sewage systems in those days- even early 60's - and boils were sometimes even common. It is not so much the cleanliness of the individual but that does help, obviously, (My mom is one who is a bit of a clean freak and while she is quite right to be that way, there are extremes - she felt quite justified after attending an AIDS conference in Toronto that said ppl shuld use javex ALL the time) but I am referring actualy to community health.

There is a direct correlation between poverty and certain illnesses or conditions and boils fall into that category. Better public health = cleaner water and less infection = less infection in humans and other beings = fewer boils.

The same is true of Florence Nightengale and how she revolutionized nursing by cleaning things up. Before her work in the Crimean War, people were dying of infections post surgery and in other conditions. That was one of her greatest contributions to health care.

There are certain other conditions that Lucky alluded to that can contrinute to boils but they are much less relevant statistically than good public health which we now fortunately have. Just spend a few months with me in the third world in my forays with Medcins sans Frontieres - you see boils alright! But you also see no clean running water and people without the luxuries we sooo take for granted, sigh!!! But that is another story!

Eleni
May 3rd, 2005, 03:07 PM
wow relax I was meaning the myth about dirty skin causing acne.

I was just curious if teh same might be applicable to boils.

Im not a medical type by any stretch of the imagination, and was simply putting my thoughts out for consideration.

*removes her head from the chopping block*

never realise its such a serious thing questioning medical opinions, or what people consider to be facts.

I have no doubt people get infections in third world countries, and even our countries when sanitation was poor. BUT here and now if i were to get a boil you better beleive its not my clenliness to fault, it would be some other skin problem that I hadnt previously known of, perhaps a ingrown hair or whatnot.

I understand your passionate about your opinions, and thats cool. But please relax and find out what a person means before pouncing

Eleni

Schwinn
May 3rd, 2005, 03:13 PM
I want to know what it's down too...

(okay, maybe I stretched a bit for that one...)

I've always understood a boil to be an uber-zit. And I also know that my acne has gotten worse since I've become more active (and I shower every day, sometimes a couple of times a day in the summer during bike season)

Eleni
May 3rd, 2005, 03:20 PM
I googled causes of boils,


and chose the first 4 links


none of them mention unclenliness as a cause for boils, many of them mention imune system trouble or diabetes as causes. or even it being a run of the mill pimple gone bad

So now im more likely to suggest it is a myth

the links I went to are below
http://edition.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/DS/00466.html

http://mo.essortment.com/whatcausesboi_rvkf.htm

http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/16/26.cfm

http://familyfun.go.com/parenting/child/health/childhealth/dony79enc_boil/

CyberKitten
May 3rd, 2005, 03:23 PM
Sorry! I did not think I was pouncing - just replying to your point. I was worried someone might think I meant to suggest they developed a boil b/c they were not clean. I was talking about public health, not individual hygeine.

The joys of online miscommunication I guess.

I guess I am used to more lively debate that you, lol

Not sure what you mean about dirty skin and acne - I've heard that but never gave it much credence. Do you mean better publc health = less acne? Not sure of the stats but there seems to be no significant decrease in acne so that's one variable that would not stand up. The factors in the development of acne are myriad actually - as you may well know. Bacteria plays a part but is not usually a direct cause, skin follicles, hormones in some ppl, heredity, etc, etc.

So if that is what you are asking and to be honest, now I am confused by your question (one of THOSE days - many of them lately, lol).

Eleni
May 3rd, 2005, 03:26 PM
Im not talkign public health at all im talking Personal health

in your personal health if you ahve severe acne it is a Myth that not washing your face enough can cause it. In fact washing your face too much can actually aggrivate it.

And since a boil can be considered in some cases a glorified pimple Its possible the same could be said for that

however it seems immune troubles and diabetes are also causes, from reading the links i Posted abouve


Eleni

Schwinn
May 3rd, 2005, 03:34 PM
however it seems immune troubles and diabetes are also causes, from reading the links i Posted abouve


And putting the burner on high...

Eleni
May 3rd, 2005, 03:36 PM
haha yes that too :P

CyberKitten
May 3rd, 2005, 04:08 PM
Or watching pizza a la that silly commercial, lol

Lucky Rescue
May 3rd, 2005, 05:43 PM
in your personal health if you ahve severe acne it is a Myth that not washing your face enough can cause it. In fact washing your face too much can actually aggrivate it.

Very true. And eating chocolate, fried foods, or drinking Coke doesn't cause it either.

People plagued with acne and boils are traumatized enough without people thinking they are dirty too.

happycats
May 3rd, 2005, 06:42 PM
And putting the burner on high...
http://bestsmileys.com/firemen/3.gif http://bestsmileys.com/fire/2.gif LOL

Prin
May 3rd, 2005, 07:34 PM
Facts are never facts in science, CK. Things are "facts" until they are proven otherwise but there is ALWAYS room for error in studies and there are always confounding variables that we never even think of. Everybody is exposed to so many different things every day, they eat different things and their bodies are different. I guess studying genetics makes you realize that all these "scientific facts" are just what people are capable of right now. Remember, at one point in history it was a scientific fact that the earth was flat. :)

Maybe boils are down simply because when people get a small infection, they get it checked out quicker than "back in the day" and it doesn't fully develop into a boil. Or maybe were just less prone genetically to them. It's possible. We can evolve significantly in one generation. I know in my generation of my family a lot of us have 3 or less wisdom teeth (I only had one-- I'm more evolved :D ) when none of the aunts and uncles were missing any of the 4.

My point is, problems are complex when it comes tiny ailments. Science has come a long way, but no matter what people say, it's simply not there yet. :)

CyberKitten
May 3rd, 2005, 07:59 PM
The scientist in me will beg to disagree Prin, lol (Sorry, I can't help it) Or maybe it is my mother's clean thing that is genetic or something (Please God that it's NOT!!! - I do NOT want to be Martha Stewart, lol). I know science has miles to go so to speak but on certain subjects, some things are pretty sacrosinct. (Until proven otherwise of course, haha)

If you are really interested in genetics, read "Darwin's Ghost", a wonderful book! The author says The Origin of Species badly needs updating and proceeds to sort of try.

Safyre
May 3rd, 2005, 09:42 PM
I was really interested in this thread as well, as first of all, I get boils, and beleive me, its NOT because I am not cleanly! No worries, i didn't take offence to that being mentioned, I understand where CK was comming from, she was speaking of public cleanlienes, public healt,h not eprsonal.
I used to have bad acne, now I just have roseca (sp?) and sometimes get boils. No, I have not asked my dermatologist about them yet, cause I can only bring up one thing at each appointment (he's a bit busy)
Thanks Eleni, for posting those linsk, very informative.

Cactus Flower
May 3rd, 2005, 11:29 PM
Ok, I don't want to hijack this into a boxing match over science BUT....

It was a belief that the earth was flat, and SCIENCE disproved that belief. Rah rah rah :D .

And surely when you were talking about evolution, you did not mean it literally, as evolution does not and can not happen in one generation.

Now, back to the boils.......

Prin
May 3rd, 2005, 11:49 PM
That's the thing though. A lot of science is still beliefs and they are presented to the public as fact. Even the lipid bilayer model of cell membranes is still a "model". It has not been disproven yet but it hasn't clearly been proven without a doubt either. If you read a molecular biology textbook, they always state the other models too and say "this is the one we think is most likely to be true". But if you ask anybody to describe a cell membrane, they'll describe the model as fact. Same with the "theory" of evolution. We weren't there. We don't know for sure. The limited number of fossils we actually find may not portray an accurate picture of what was around way back when. We also don't even know how many genes we have and people think we have it all figured out because we clone stuff. We don't know what causes diabetes, either. We don't know a lot of things that we pretend we do.

Back to boils (isn't the question answered though?)