The ABCs of Boils

Antibiotics and Cortisone medications can cause Boils. Although we have the letters a little out-of-order, you get the picture.

What Causes Boils In The First Place?

Boils result when the body is fighting infection. Our bodies are quite remarkable in their ability to defend us against outside invaders such as when bacterium finds their way in through cuts or an opening on the skin. If a topical antibacterial or disinfectant does not do the job of killing the enemy invaders, then the body will take matters into its own hands and send natural defense forces to combat the infection. White blood cells sent to dissipate the infection cause the area to swell. It then becomes quite tender and the skin turns red. The battle ensues and often the area becomes hard to the touch. A boil appears at the point of infection.

When a person has certain illnesses, such as diabetes or kidney failure, infections are frequently found on the skin. Any type of illness that weakens the immune system will also leave a person subject to developing boils. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS demand much of the body's resources to fight infection and the person often develops boils during the process. However, boils are often a minor occurrence when compared to other complications that may arise from a weakened immune system.

Immune Suppressing Medications-Cortisones

Medications used to treat some illnesses can be the catalyst to boils in some people. Immune system suppressants such as cortisone medications, including prednisone and prednisolone, put users of these medications at a higher risk of incurring a boil. If a person must use cortisone medications, then it is important they ensure their immune systems are boosted well with proper diet as well as vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Overuse Of Antibiotics Can Be Trouble As Well

Antibiotic overuse is also a cause of weakened immune systems, especially in children. Frequent ear infections and colds are routinely treated with prescribed antibiotics from the doctor. Antibiotics can kill off lactobacillus acidophilus, the friendly flora found in healthy intestines, and as a result yeast overgrowth occurs which weakens the immune system. The children are then more predisposed to boils as well as thrush and other fungal rashes.

When cortisone and antibiotic medications are prescribed, they are done so to treat illnesses far more complicated than boils, so it is important to continue taking the prescribed medicines even if a boil occurs. Boils can usually be treated very effectively at home and often just run their course and heal without medical attention.

When To Seek Medical Attention

Seek proper medical attention if boils persist or do not heal. In such cases, boils do require medical care to avoid complications. If there is a fever, if the boil does not respond to home care or worsens quickly or if there are red lines running from the boil then the infection may be more than can be handled at home. Consulting the medical practitioner in such cases is important and necessary.