Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
You can generally treat small boils at home by applying warm compresses to relieve pain and promote natural drainage.
For larger boils and carbuncles, treatment usually includes draining the boil with an incision and sometimes taking antibiotics:
- Incision and drainage. Your doctor may drain a large boil or carbuncle by making a small incision in the tip. This relieves pain, speeds recovery and helps lessen scarring. Deep infections that can't be completely drained may be packed with sterile gauze so that pus can continue to drain.
- Antibiotics. Sometimes your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help heal severe or recurrent infections, or infections that may be caused by MRSA.
- Habif TP. Furuncles and carbuncles. In Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/book/player/book.do?method=display&type=bookPage&decorator=header&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00018-3--s0295&uniq=215950578&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&sid=1042832232. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Baddour LM. Skin abscesses, furuncles, and carbuncles. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Rakel RE. Furuncles and carbuncles. In: Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/215950578-5/1042832232/1481/236.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2467-5..50024-5--cesec94_966. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Tree tea oil. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com/(S(iyok1uyiw1fl112ek3ax2lu2))/nd/Search.aspx?cs=MAYO&s=ND&pt=100&id=113&fs=ND&searchid=11129198. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Personal prevention of MRSA skin infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/prevent/personal.html. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.
- Archer GL. Staphylococcal infections. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/130655031-2/826443940/1492/1112.html#4-u1. Accessed Aug. 23, 2010.