How Do I Treat a Boil with Pus?

Individuals should wash their hands before applying treatment to a boil.
An ingrown toenail that becomes infected is a common cause for the formation of pus.
A doctor may prescribe a topical antibiotic after lancing a boil.
Article Details
  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The appropriate treatment for a boil with pus depends upon the location of the boil and the cause. Typically, this condition is related to a bacterial infection. The boil containing pus is typically red, inflamed, and painful. In addition, the color of pus is usually white or yellow, although it can sometimes be tinged with blood. To be certain which type of organism is causing the infection, collecting pus from the boil may be necessary so that it can be cultured in a laboratory.

An individual should never attempt to lance a boil with pus. This may be tempting because after the pus is released from the boil, it typically feels better. This can cause the infection to worsen, so any lancing of a boil should be left to the healthcare professional. If, however, a person does get his boil lanced by a medical professional, oral or topical antibiotics will probably be prescribed.

Pus is formed in response to the infectious process, and although not all infections cause pus production, many infections of the skin do. Common infections that cause pus formation include infected ingrown toenails, infections of the nail beds of the hands, and infected acne. In addition, a tooth abscess can cause pus formation, as can certain infections of the eye. In addition, boils with pus can be very contagious so people in the same households should not share washcloths or towels.

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Any boil can be very painful, especially if it is in an area affected by sitting. To ease the pain, an over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication can be taken, as can an analgesic. In addition to the local infection, a boil with pus can cause systemic symptoms of an infection. These include fever, chills, body aches, and nausea. Typically, when oral antibiotics are given for the infected boil, symptoms of local and systemic infection generally subside.

It is important to note that when a patient is prescribed an oral antibiotic for a boil with pus, he must finish his entire prescription. If he fails to do so, the infection may not resolve or it may even worsen. Antibiotics can cause stubborn side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These side effects can be so troubling that they sometimes cause the patient to give up taking the antibiotics. People should never stop treatment with prescription medication unless advised to do so by their healthcare providers.

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strawCake
Post 2

@Monika - I'm glad that you let the doctor lance your boil instead of doing it yourself. I have a good friend who wasn't as lucky as you are...or should I say, as patient and smart!

A friend of mine had a boil, and she just couldn't wait to go to the doctor. She picked at it and squeezed it so much it ended up bursting. She thought she was going to be fine after that, but she ended up with a really bad infection. Popping a boil actually pushes the bacteria farther inwards.

Anyway, she ended up on some serious antibiotics for awhile. I think if she ever gets a boil again she'll probably just seek medical treatment first!

Monika
Post 1

I actually had a boil with pus in it lanced by a doctor not too long ago. It was on my lower leg, and it just wasn't going away.

So I went to the doctor and he told me it was probably an infection. He lanced it, which pretty much looks like giving an injection, but in reverse. Instead of injecting something, the doctor used a syringe to draw up the pus. I remember thinking how smart that was because if you were to just poke it with a needle, the pus would go everywhere. Obviously, that's not very desirable.

After the doctor lanced the boil, he put a bandage on it. I got some antibiotics, and after that I was good to go.

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