Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

For small boils, these measures may help the infection heal more quickly and prevent it from spreading

  • Warm compresses. Apply a warm washcloth or compress to the affected area several times a day. This helps the boil rupture and drain more quickly.
  • Never squeeze or lance a boil yourself. This can spread the infection.
  • Prevent contamination. Wash your hands thoroughly after treating a boil. Also, launder clothing, towels or compresses that have touched the infected area, especially if you have recurrent boils or carbuncles.

Prevention

It's not always possible to prevent boils, especially if you have a weakened immune system. But the following measures may help you avoid staph infections:

  • Wash your hands regularly with mild soap. Or use an alcohol-based hand rub often. Careful hand-washing is your best defense against germs.
  • Keep wounds covered. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal.
  • Keep personal items personal. Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. Staph infections can spread via objects, as well as from person to person. If you have a cut or sore, wash your towels and linens using detergent and hot water with added bleach, and dry them in a hot dryer.