Recurrent boils are a common diabetes-related skin complication. The elevated blood sugar level weakens the immune system, making diabetics susceptible to bacterial infections that cause boil. Boils are pus-filled lesions that develop on the skin when one or multiple hair follicles are infected by Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as staph bacteria. You may have a single boil, known as furuncle, or a cluster of lesions forming a carbuncle. The healthy immune system in non-diabetics suppresses replication of the staph bacteria that enter the hair follicles through a cut or injury in the skin, thereby minimizing the risk of boils. However, the weakened immune system in diabetics cannot fight bacterial infections, which not only increases the risk of developing furuncles and carbuncles but it also slows down the healing of boils. To prevent complications, treatment should begin as soon as the first symptoms of boil appear.
Diabetic Boil Treatment
The poor immunity of diabetics warrants use of antibiotics for treating the bacterial infection of the hair follicles and preventing complications. In most cases, topical application of antibiotic medication is sufficient for healing boils. For treating severe bacterial infections or recurrent boils, your physician may recommend oral antibiotic medication.
Applying wet warm compress on the boils helps to rupture the boil and facilitates drainage of pus. Soak a clean washcloth in warm saline water, squeeze to remove the excess moisture and place it on the boil for about 10 to 15 minutes. Apply the compress several times throughout the day. Application of heat boosts blood circulation, thereby helping transportation of the immune cells to the affected site.
Large carbuncles that do not respond to conventional treatment require medical intervention. On the tip of the boil, your doctor will make a small incision to drain the pus. Drainage of pus with professional help dramatically reduces pain and accelerates healing. Moreover, proper drainage of the pus is essential for preventing recurrent boils.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains potent antibacterial components that help to fight bacterial infections of the skin. It can be used for treating diabetic boils. Instead of an antibiotic ointment, you can apply a small amount of tea tree oil on the painful boils or carbuncles.
Strengthening the immune system with Echinacea helps to speed up healing of boils and carbuncles. Polysaccharides present in the volatile oil of the herb stimulate the immune system and speeds up healing of infections and wounds.
In the traditional Indian medicine system, turmeric is recommended for treating boils. The anti-inflammatory property of curcumin, the main active component in turmeric, helps to reduce inflammation and pain. You can take a teaspoon of turmeric paste or a teaspoon of turmeric powder blended with a cup of water thrice a day.
Reduce Blood Sugar Level
Maintaining the blood sugar level in the normal range speeds up healing and prevents recurrent boil. Diabetics should take their medications according to their physician’s instructions. Moreover, a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle will help to normalize the blood sugar level.