Difference between abscess and boil
Abscess vs boil :
While both abscesses and boils can be quite painful nuisances, it may be rather difficult to distinguish the difference between these two conditions which spring up on the surface of the skin and also within the body without prior warning. While any puss filled lump can be termed automatically an abscess or a boil, it is important to figure of the differences between these two words in order to administer an effective treatment for both.
What is an abscess?
Clinically speaking, an abscess is defined as ‘a collection of pus that has accumulated in a cavity formed by the tissue in which the pus resides on the basis of an infectious process. This is usually caused by bacteria or parasites or other foreign materials such as splinters, bullet wounds, or injecting needles.’ Abscess is a broader term that refers to any of the body’s reactions to an infectious material which has entered the body. In the defense reaction of the body, it seals the infected tissue in such a way that the bacteria of the infection cannot get in to the blood stream. And thus, pus collects in this area and also the immune cells that react against the bacteria cannot get in to this affected spot and therefore redness, swelling, pain and itching is caused. Not only on skin, abscesses can occur in other areas such as lungs, gums, tonsils, kidneys, digestive cavity, brain and some of these abscesses have proven to deadly as well. Abscesses are generally healed through surgical drainage, as well as debridement and curettage. Antibiotics are given afterwards in order to heal the abscess wound.
What is a boil?
A boil which often forms in the shape of furuncles or carbuncles, occurs commonly as a result of the infection of a hair follicle. They are usually presented as red, pus-filled lumps around a hair follicle that are extremely tender, warm, and painful. The sizes of a boil vary largely and they often form a white or a yellow head when the boil had matured and is ready to discharge the puss. There are several forms of boils, one of which is cystic acne which occurs along the buttock crease as a result of the clogging of the sebaceous glands or pilonidal cysts. Under this category falls eye sties which occur as a result of infected eye lashes.
Usually boils can be treated with medication or home remedies which include infusions of milk cream, cabbage leaves and turmeric paste that help draw more white blood cells to the infected area. A boil can be medically treated by way of lancing or draining, both of which are performed after the boil has matured and developed a head. After these procedures, antibiotics are prescribed in order to help heal the wound.
What is the difference between an abscess and a boil?
Whereas both boils and abscesses are common nuisances that can be quite painful, there are certain differences between these two conditions. While a boil is just one type of an abscess which forms on skin, abscesses can occur anywhere in the body including liver, lungs, brain and the like. Abscesses, unlike boils can be deadly as well.
Boils occur commonly as a result of an infected hair follicle whereas abscesses occur commonly as a result of bacteria and parasites infection. Abscesses also occur due to the insertion of foreign objects such as splinters, bullet wounds or injecting needles in to the skin. Also while antibiotics are administered after the treatment of the condition in both the cases, a boil can be treated with home remedies whereas an abscess needs medical attention.