Boils: Brief Version
What is a boil?
A boil is a tender, red lump in the skin. It can be painful even when it is not being touched. Most of the time it is 1/2 to 1 inch wide. A boil is a hair root or skin pore that has been infected by bacteria called Staphylococcus (or staph).
How can I take care of my child?
- Give your child antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. The boil will heal faster. It will also be less likely to return.
- Keep your child clean. It is easy to get a boil again. Make sure your child showers and washes his hair every day with an antibacterial soap. This will help wash away staph bacteria on the skin.
- Do not let other people use your child's towels or washcloths. The boils are easy to spread.
- Do not squeeze a boil. You may spread boils to other parts of the body.
Call your child's doctor during office hours if:
- The boil is not better within 48 hours after starting the antibiotic.
- The skin around the boil turns red or red streaks appear.
- The boil has come to a head.
- You have other concerns or questions.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2010-06-03
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes
available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical
evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.