Boils are considered as common infections that affect both children and adults. This form of infection can cause pain and significant discomfort for children but they rarely cause any complications and typically heal on their own within a span of 2 weeks. In case a child is suffering from recurrent boils or a boil that does not seem to improve, it is best to consult a doctor for proper assessment and treatment of the condition. If you want to be prepared to manage this condition, all you have to do is to register for first aid training today.
How to identify a boil
It is important to note that a boil is described as a sore lump that is initially pea-sized. The surrounding area is red in color and swollen while the middle part of the boil turns yellow or white as it fills up with pus which increases the tenderness of the area surrounding the boil.
As the boil is completely filled with pus, it can grow up to the size of a golf ball where it often oozes fluid. Once the boil drains, the pain is reduced and it starts to shrink. The areas that are usually affected by boils include the armpits, face, thigh and buttocks.
Causes of boils
The common cause of boils is no other than the staphylococcus aureus bacteria which enters a hair follicle in the skin. If the child has a cut or scrape, the hair follicle is damaged and the bacteria can enter deep into the epidermis. Take note that the pus in a boil is usually a combination of dead skin cells, white blood cells and bacteria. A child faces a higher risk for developing boils if he/she has anemia, diabetes, eczema or an immune deficiency.
Treatment for boils
When a child develops boils, it is important to keep them clean. You have to apply a warm compress over the boil for 10 minutes at several times throughout the day to promote drainage to hasten the healing process. The moment the boil starts to drain, you can apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment over the boil and keep the area covered using a bandage.
Large-sized boils that penetrate deep into the skin tissues require surgery. This requires a small-sized incision into the boil to drain out the pus. Antibiotics can be applied topically or given orally. The child should not pick, squeeze or cut a boil since this will only lead to inflammation and will push the infection deeper into the skin.
Boils are known to spread from one area to another, thus you have to keep the boil covered so that the child cannot touch the area. It is important to use an antibacterial soap to prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin.
The child must be encouraged to wash his/her hands regularly and take daily showers. In case the child is too young to take showers, you can give daily baths. Avoid sharing towels or other personal items since bacteria can easily transfer from one object to another. Additionally, any scrape or cuts on the skin must be thoroughly cleaned.