Boils and carbuncles are contagious skin infections, which are usually caused by penicillin-resistant staphylococci. The patient may have a crop of them, and in a closed community they may become epidemic.

BOILS For the general method, see Section 5.2.

Clean the skin round the a boil with hexachlorophane solution, and cover it with a dry dressing. Let it burst spontaneously. If it is pointing, a small incision will let it discharge and will reduce the pain. Alternatively, aspirate it.

CAUTION ! Never squeeze a boil; especially on the face, never let the patient squeeze it.

If he has many boils, tell him to wash thoroughly with soap and water, and to bath in salt water. Ideally, he should bath with hexochlorophane soap, or 70% spirit, change his underwear daily, and boil it. For very fortunate patients a seaside holiday is one of the best cures.