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Got an ache or pain? Have a question about a prescription or over-the-counter drug? Looking for some FREE medical advice?
Question:
Since we moved to Moscow last year from the States, my two children and myself have each developed boils on various parts of our bodies. This has never happened to any of us before moving here. Could it have anything to do with the diet, environment, etc.? Our resistance to certain types of staff germs? Incidentally, my husband (who was raised in Moscow) has never gotten one.
EA
Answer:
Thank you for your inquiry. Boils are caused by an infection of the skin's numeorus hair follicles with "Staph" bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus). Most people who get boils are otherwise healthy and have good personal hygiene. They do however carry staph. aureus on the surface of their skins - 10- 20% of the population are staph carriers. Under most conditions most carriers do not get boils as a result - but something as minor as tiny cuts or abrasions (even from rough clothing or the tops of boots etc. rubbing against skin) can allow the staph to penetrate skin through the hair follicle. Antibiotics do not work to prevent this type of problem; antibiotics depend on being carried by blood to the site of infection so they cannot reach bacteria on the surface of intact skin. In hospitals disinfecting the skin reduces the incidence of boils arising after the skin is breached through surgery - a similar "skin cleansing regime" may tried at home. Very occasionally a few simple blood tests to screen for such condition as anaemia and diabetes can be useful but it is unlikely that such conditions apply in your case; it's more likely that a change in the skin's environment is responsible.
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