You can generally treat small boils at home by applying warm compresses to relieve pain and promote natural drainage.

For larger boils and carbuncles, treatment may include:

  • Incision and drainage. Your doctor may drain a large boil or carbuncle by making a small incision in the tip. Deep infections that can't be completely drained may be packed with sterile gauze to help soak up and remove additional pus.
  • Antibiotics. Sometimes your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help heal severe or recurrent infections.
July 13, 2016
  1. Baddour LM. Skin abscesses, furuncles and carbuncles. Accessed June 15, 2016.
  2. Boils and carbuncles. National Health Service. Accessed June 15, 2016.
  3. Habif TP. Bacterial infections. In: Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. Accessed June 20, 2016.
  4. Adams JG. Skin and soft tissue infections. In: Emergency Medicine: Clinical Essentials. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. Accessed June 17, 2016.
  5. Kliegman RM, et al. Cutaneous bacterial infections. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. Accessed June 16, 2016.