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What causes recurring boils on body with cough?

Dec 2013
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Answered by

Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 4119 Questions
Hi, for the last couple of years I've been getting boils every few months, this has escalated a bit now to 4 months ago I got a bad boil, then 2 months later I got 3 styles in the same eye over a 5 week period, I've now got a chesty cough that I've had for 2 1/2 weeks and another boil has appeared. Are these things linked or am I just being unlucky. Hope you can advise XXXX
Posted Mon, 3 Feb 2014 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Sanjay Kumar Kanodia 35 minutes later
Brief Answer: Recurrent Folliculitis; kindly provide details Detailed Answer: Hi, Thanks for posting your query to Healthcare Magic. I can understand your concern for recurrent boils for last few months. After reading your query with diligence it seems that you are suffering from the problem of "Recurrent Folliculitis". To tell you simply - This is a condition of inflammation and infection of the hair root and oil gland attached to it. To explain it medically, we have hair all over our body which have opening of the oil glands attached to it. By many a factors these hair root and oil gland can become inflamed and infected leading to folliculitis. The reason for the inflammation and infection of the area is due to the fact that our body harbor mutiple types of bacteria on the skin which are known as “Normal flora” of the skin. A bacteria “Staphylococcus aureus” is also a part of that flora, but as soon as there is some break in the skin or trivially also due to bit ups and downs in immunity, the bacteria gets access into the skin and causes the aforesaid process of inflammation and infection. When it is superficial it heals without any problem, but when it is deep it causes lot of pain and swelling around the area. In general these persist for few weeks and heals without any problem. After a period of time our immunity prevents the further formation and inflammation. The main concern is when it is occurring frequently and regularly. Before I guide you any further I would like ask certain relevant questions with the condition: 1. Do you apply any kind of oil or use any kind of moisturizing cream on body surface. 2. Any other skin problems or any recent history of any illness. 3. Exposure to heat and humidity in last few months or your job profile. 4. Any previous history of taking some medications especially antibiotics in last 6 months. 5. Any history of some systemic disease like diabetes in family or have you gone for your sugar check. 6. Any stressful event in last 6 months. Waiting for your reply so that I can guide you further. Regards Dr. Sanjay Kumar Kanodia MD (Dermatology & STD)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes recurring boils on body with cough? 7 minutes later
Hi dr, to answer your questions, I don't use any oils or moisturiser, no exposure to heat or humidity, on I boil about 6 months ago my dr gave me antibiotics, my brother has diabetes ( insulin controlled) he did a blood sugar test for me and said that was fine. No real stressful events but I am a poor sleeper, I wake every day at 4 am regardless of when I go to bed. If I go to bed at 9 pm I get 7 hours, if I go to bed at midnight I get 4 hours. My real concern now is whether this chesty cough could somehow be linked
Answered by Dr. Sanjay Kumar Kanodia 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Meet a family physician; go for all routine tests Detailed Answer: Hi, Thanks for sending the important details. You are partially correct in the sense of inter-relation between cough since 2 & 1/2 weeks and the infection of the hair root and oil glands. Though there is no exact correlation of one with other but both the things indicates a common cause of lowered immunity which is causing both the problems. Cough of more than 3 weeks duration should always be investigated with great care. In general cough does not remain more than 2 weeks, and around 18 days of cough is important to be taken care of. For the same I suggest you to meet a family physician who can do all the important physical examination as well as do all the routine tests including Complete blood counts, serum biochemistry including blood sugar and lever and kidney function tests, X ray chest or any other specific test to rule out an important cause related to both of your problems. One more reason is, as your brother has diabetes so you can have a pre-diabetic status where recurrent folliculitis is an important sign of unstable sugar. You check out your exact control of sugar by regular monitoring and by HbA1c level. There are certain important tips regarding your problem: 1. Do not pinch, pop or even try to touch any of the area of boils. 2. Kindly avoid scratching any area of normal skin also, as it leads to minor entry points for the entry of bacteria. 3. Wear cotton clothes and cotton undergarments to be changed two times a day. 4. Maintain proper hygiene and take two times daily bath. 5. Avoid any kind of stress, even for this condition also as stress is one of the very important factor playing role in our immunity (making it low) so prone for infections. Yoga, meditations and simple walk do help a lot in improving immunity. 6. For the boils present now, you can do warm saline compresses (1 glass of water and pinch of salt in it) for 2-3 times a day. If I were your treating dermatologist then would have suggested you to apply plain antibacterial cream such as fusidic acid or mupirocin (latest is retapamulin) and to take pain killer tablet by mouth for reducing the intensity of pain and redness. If these are enlarging and painful, then along with above mentioned measures you would require a course of oral antibiotics (best after culture and sensitivity of pus) under medical advice. If at all you take oral antibiotic, then do take proper dose and full course of antibiotics (as improper dosing and schedule leads to antibiotic resistance and then recurrent nature of the situation). Eat healthy and nutritious food to improve your immunity at its best because is the most important factor in reducing and eliminating any infection from the body. Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions, I will be happy to help or if you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish you good health. Regards, Dr Sanjay Kumar Kanodia (MD- Dermatology & STD)
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