Dealing with Boils

Tengu

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Jan 10, 2006
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I have one.

Last time I had one it was a trip to the clinic and antibiotics.

(Cannot take that for granted any more, eh?)

What should I do? Its tender and not painful, (yet) and seemsto be growing (or maybe thats just my impression of it)
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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The old advice was to use something to 'pull' it. Sugar and soap mixed into a paste and plastered over it helps draw it out and clean it. So does magsulph paste if you have any...you can still buy that in the Chemist's. 50g tubs according to the internet. Magnesium Sulphate. Epsom salts soaked into a flannel and wrapped over the boil draws and soothes it too.

M
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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Plus, you have a systemic infection. Probably a smart move to get ahead of it all with antibiotics. Amoxicillin, something like that.
Application of local wet heat (hot wet washer) might help to bring it along.
Don't let this get away on you. You might find that daily IV antibiotics for a week is a bit tedious.
 

Toddy

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For a boil ?

To get antibiotics here we need a prescription, and only if a Doctor thinks that the antibiotic is warranted will we be given one. Right now all GP surgeries are closed, so Tengu would have to visit the A&E at whatever hospital has one open.....and they're queued out with genuine accidents as well as dealing with the issues of the Covid-19 testing.
Even folks with dental abcesses are being told to self medicate just now. That said, if the Pharmacist thinks it necessary s/he can raise a prescription and have if agreed with your GP.

Unless you're spiking a fever with this boil, Tengu, you are bound to have something at home that will help it heal quickly.

M
 

Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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The old welsh cure for 'boils' of all kinds (and I think an old Romany cure) is a poultice of Navelwort (Umbilicus rupoestris). It can be made into a salve by crushing it with any type of benign grease or fat but I believe the crushed leaf alone, held in place by a light dressing, will work just as effectively. I remember my Grandmother applying this to me when very young but I've not used it in recent years.
 
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TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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The old welsh cure for 'boils' of all kinds (and I think an old Romany cure) is a poultice of Navelwort (Umbilicus rupoestris). It can be made into a salve by crushing it with any type of benign grease or fat but I believe the crushed leaf alone, held in place by a light dressing, will work just as effectively. I remember my Grandmother applying this to me when very young but I've not used it in recent years.

If Tengu goes this route ( can you locate and identify Navelwort Tengu ) I'd be really interested to see/hear if its effective. Herbal remedies - some most definitely DO work and some I think are just believed to have worked. Be good to find out.
 
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Tengu

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I emailed my GP friend (always reluctant to bother her about my issues...) and she likes the idea of antibiotics.

That and lancing.

Im reluctant to start poking in case it turns septic; at the moment its a mild annoyance, not a definitie antibiotics case.

But then of course there is the concern it might rupture anyway.

I assume my Father has disinfectant of some form; I have cream in my car FAK but I prefer a good soak in liquid.

What is Navelwort and where might it grow?
 

Toddy

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Tengu, just how big is this 'boil' ?

Frankly I'm astonished that your GP friend is in favour of using antibiotics for such a minor issue.

Did she advise that you up your vitamins ?

NHS advice on boils and carbuncles.....

 

Toddy

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Um, how do you measure a boil, Toddy?

(I think I will keep an eye on it, othrwise do nothing)

It's more the level of inflammation.
Is it deep still, not really risen above the skin ? or is it flared up and the skin thinned and showing pus underneath ?

Honestly, if it's still small enough that it's just flaring, try to draw it. The body will want to heal, just encourage it along. The hot flannel provides relief and encourages the body to clear it up.

The NHS don't recommend draining one yourself, but one colleague was plagued with them and regularly dealt with them herself when we were working in the back of beyond and no GP to hand. Just disinfected the area and a needle, inserted it into the swollen yellow bit and gently encouraged the mess to drain. Seemed to work, just disinfected it again and slapped a plaster on it.
Eventually though the Doctor reckoned that she had staph aureus ? on her skin and gave her antibiotic nose drops. I have no idea why nose drops, but that's what she got. Haven't seen her in years, no idea if they recurred, I just mind the nose drop thing.
Carbolic soap was the stuff folks were advised to use when I was at school, but that's a looong time ago :)
 

zornt

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Apr 6, 2014
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A remedy my family uses is to put a piece of bacon ( you all call this streaky bacon) on it with a bit of salt. Then cover it with a band aid ( sticking plaster) it should draw it out in a few days.
There is a product called ictheol sp? A black drawing salve that works well also.
 

Tengu

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Oh, you mean Pennywort. I understand.

Well, there seems to be a lot of different things I can put on it.
 

Broch

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Oh, you mean Pennywort. I understand.

Well, there seems to be a lot of different things I can put on it.
No :) (I know it's called Wall Pennywort in some areas) - Pennyworts are a family in themselves; Navalwort is in the Stonecrop family. This is why I try to always quote the scientific names!
 
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Fadcode

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Feb 13, 2016
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my Mother, Bless her soul, would always apply to our boils a bread poultice, which was basically a mash of bread and milk, put on quite hot, and then bandaged, and usually the boil was gone the next day. As with most poultices it is the heat that draws out the boil, cheap as chips, but we usually ate the chips before they had a chance of being a poultice.
 
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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
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As RV said, it is an infection. Hence the GP favoring antibiotics. Yeah, that take a prescription here too (and I suspect in Canada as well) Although I live close enough to Mexico to take a trip and buy them over the counter if need be, they’re pretty much a standard prescription for an infection so that wouldn’t be necessary and I’m sure something similar isn’t an option there anyway.

That said, when I was a kid few people ever bothered going to a doctor for a boil anyway. If you want to draw it out yourself somebody already recommended salt and others have recommended heat. One of the older and best ways of doing that is simply soaking in a hot bath with epsom salt.
 

demographic

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Apr 15, 2005
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Depends where it is but I'd never suggest cleaning the area then poking something sterile and sharp into the boil then squeezing it to drain it. Then cleaning the area afterwards and apllying a dressing.
No siree, not me. Thats just crazy talk.
 

Tengu

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Jan 10, 2006
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Thank you for all the advice.

Today it seems to be going down.

I went looking for pennywort but found none. Toadflax, Ivy, that nubbly fleshy plant I cant remember the name of, dwarf fern....lots of wall plants.
 

Toddy

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Depends where it is but I'd never suggest cleaning the area then poking something sterile and sharp into the boil then squeezing it to drain it. Then cleaning the area afterwards and apllying a dressing.
No siree, not me. Thats just crazy talk.

It's just what the practice nurse would do anyway, if you can find one free just now !

On the whole most resolve without any need. Even the NHS site says they'll burst though.....personally I'd rather not have it swell with enough pus to burst my skin, I'd rather deal with it before it got to that stage.....but each to their own. The only time I've had anything like this it was a bit of thorn that had broken off too deeply to be spotted and removed, and it festered. I did disinfect the whole thing, and a needle, and I did clean it out. No further issue from it.

M