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Boils Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Skin lump or bump that is red, swollen, and tender
  • Lump becomes larger, more painful, and softer over time
  • Pocket of pus may form on top of the boil (called "coming to a head")

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be performed. A bacterial culture of the boil may be taken.

Some boils do not need medical attention and may drain on their own. More serious symptoms associated with boils that may require medical attention include:

  • The boil worsens, persists, or becomes large or severe
  • You have a fever
  • The skin around the boil turns red or red streaks appear
  • The boil does not drain
  • An additional boil or boils appear
  • The boil limits your normal activities
  • The boil is on your face, near your spine, or in the anal area
  • You have diabetes
  • You develop many boils over several months

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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