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Publication: Looking Good
Dealing With Boils

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                  LOOKING GOOD - May 22, 2008   
              "Tips To Help You Look & Feel Your Best"   

Good Morning,   

By the time you get this American Idol will be over, even
though it won't be starting for a few hours here. While I
personally don't think David Cook did as bad as the judges
claimed, I'll concede that David Archuleta probably sang
better. However, I'll say it again...Cook for the win and
if he doesn't win, he'll outsell all the contestants from
the past few seasons, except Carrie Underwood...

I think Archuleta is a sweetheart and what I'm going to say
(again), is no reflection on his talent or his personality.
However, for a kid that has been performing in front of the
public since he's a wee tyke, he still seems uncomfortable
and scared out of his socks. Nerves are one thing, fear another...

The other thing, that can't be ignored is $$$. If Archuleta
does win, after the initial "fury" of his win and the effect
it has on his sales, how many people, kids in particular, will
buy his type of music? While some may appreciate the pureness
of his voice, (which I do), I can't see myself popping his CD
in the car, unless I want to go to sleep at the wheel. On the
other hand, I have already purchased Cook's music from iTunes
and his studio versions of his performances are fantastic!

I hope for Archuleta's sake, he finds a mentor of sorts, who
can build his self-confidence and make him more comfortable
with himself. I also hope, that "if" all the stories about his
over-bearing dad are true, he can someday find the strength to
do what he wants and not what others may have pushed him into.
I worry, based on watching the poor kid this year, that the
pressure of winning, (or losing) will affect him, and not in a 
good way. No, I'm not a psychiatrist, but when I look at "little
David", I see a kid on the edge of a nervous breakdown...

I know everyone thinks Archuleta will win after last night's
perfomances and the judges "pimping" him as the winner, but
I'm still going to go with my boy Cook...





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What is a boil? 

A boil, also referred to as a skin abscess, is a localized 
infection deep in the skin. A boil generally starts as a reddened, 
tender area. Over time, the area becomes firm and hard. Eventually, 
the center of the abscess softens and becomes filled with infection-
fighting white blood cells that the body sends from the blood stream 
to eradicate the infection. This collection of white blood cells, 
bacteria, and proteins is known as pus. Finally, the pus "forms a head," 
which can be surgically opened or spontaneously drain out through the 
surface of the skin... 

There are several different types of boils. Among these are... 

Furuncle or carbuncle: This is an abscess in the skin caused by 
the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. A furuncle can have one or 
more openings onto the skin and may be associated with a fever 
or chills...
Cystic acne: This is a type of abscess that is formed when oil 
ducts become clogged and infected. Cystic acne affects deeper 
skin tissue that the more superficial inflammation from common 
acne. Cystic acne is most common on the face and typically occurs 
in the teenage years...
Hidradenitis suppurativa: This is a condition in which there are 
multiple abscesses that form under the arm pits and often in the 
groin area. These areas are a result of local inflammation of the 
sweat glands. This form of skin infection is difficult to treat 
with antibiotics alone and typically requires a surgical procedure 
to remove the involved sweat glands in order to stop the skin 
Pilonidal cyst: This is a unique kind of abscess that occurs in the 
crease of the buttocks. Pilonidal cysts often begin as tiny areas of 
infection in the base of the area of skin from which hair grows (the 
hair follicle). With irritation from direct pressure over time the 
inflamed area enlarges to become a firm, painful, tender nodule making 
it difficult to sit without discomfort. These frequently form after long
trips that involve prolonged sitting...


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Most simple boils can be treated at home. Ideally, the treatment should 
begin as soon as a boil is noticed since early treatment may prevent 
later complications...

The primary treatment for most boils is heat application, usually with 
hot soaks or hot packs. Heat application increases the circulation to 
the area and allows the body to better fight off the infection by bringing 
antibodies and white blood cells to the site of infection... 

As long as the boil is small and firm, opening the area and draining the 
boil is not helpful, even if the area is painful. However, once the boil 
becomes soft or "forms a head" (that is, a small pustule is noted in the 
boil), it can be ready to drain. Once drained, pain relief can be dramatic. 
Most small boils, such as those that form around hairs, drain on their own 
with soaking. On occasion, and especially with larger boils, the the larger 
boil will need to be drained or "lanced" by a healthcare practitioner. 
Frequently, these larger boils contain several pockets of pus that must 
be opened and drained...

Antibiotics are often used to eliminate the accompanying bacterial 
infection. Especially if there is an infection of the surrounding skin, 
the doctor often prescribes antibiotics. However, antibiotics are not 
needed in every situation. In fact, antibiotics have difficult penetrating 
the outer wall of an abscess well and often will not cure an abscess 
without additional surgical drainage..

Any boil or abscess in a patient with diabetes or a patient with an 
underlying illness that can be associated with a weakened immune 
system (such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) should be evaluated 
by a healthcare practitioner. Additionally, many medicines, especially 
prednisone, that suppress the immune system (the natural infection-
fighting system of the body) can complicate what would be an otherwise 
simple boil. Patients who are on such medications should consult their 
healthcare practitioner if they develop boils...

There are some measures that you can take to prevent boils from forming. 
The regular use of antibacterial soaps can help to prevent bacteria from 
building up on the skin. This can reduce the chance for the hair follicles 
to become infected and prevent the formation of boils. In some situations, 
your healthcare practitioner may recommend special cleansers such as 
pHisoderm to even further reduce the bacteria on the skin. When the hair 
follicles on the back of the arms or around the thighs are continually 
inflamed, regular use of an abrasive brush (loufa brush) in the shower 
can be used break up oil plugs and build up around hair follicles... 

Pilonidal cysts can be prevented by avoiding continued direct pressure 
or irritation of the buttock area when a local hair follicle becomes 
inflamed. At that point, regular soap and hot water cleaning and drying 
can be helpful...

For acne and hidradenitis suppurativa, antibiotics may be required on 
a long-term basis to prevent recurrent abscess formation. As mentioned 
above, surgical resection of sweat glands in the involved skin may be 
necessary. Other medications, such as isotretinoin (Accutane) can be 
used for cystic acne and has been helpful in some patients with hidradenitis 
suppurativa. Recurrences are common in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa... 

Finally, surgery may occasionally be needed, especially in pilonidal cysts 
that recur, but also for hidradenitis suppurativa. For pilonidal cysts, 
surgically removing the outer shell of the cyst is important to clear the 
boil. The procedure is typically performed in the operating room. For 
hidradenitis suppurativa, extensive involvement can require plastics 
surgical repair...

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