Patient Information Leaflets (PILs)
These Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) are specially written by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD).
The BAD has been awarded The Information Standard certification for the process it employs to develop information products aimed at the general public, which include PILs, Sun Awareness Campaign materials, and other information products.
The BAD shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information published, and neither the scheme operator nor the scheme owner shall have any responsibility for costs, losses, or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of the BAD.
A boil, or furuncle, is an abscess (infection) of the skin that starts in the deep part of the hair follicle. The infection is usually caused by a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). Occasionally the infection may spread into the surrounding tissues (cellulitis) and can cause fever and a feeling of being unwell. When several boils form close together and join beneath the skin, it is known as a carbuncle. Sometimes rarer strains of S. aureus: Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), can give rise to boils. The latter may cause boils which are larger and more painful (see Patient Information Leaflet on PVL Staphylococcus Aureus (PVL-SA) skin infection).
The bacteria causing the boil can occasionally spread from one part of the body to another and from one person to another by skin-to-skin contact and contaminated clothing and towels. This is especially true when boils are caused by the PVL strain of S. aureus bacteria. Boils are common in adolescents and can affect boys more often than girls. Sufferers of boils seldom have a problem with their immune system, but boils can be more severe in patients with a suppressed immune system. Boils are more common in patients with diabetes and those who are overweight.