Preventing boils and carbuncles  

It's not always possible to prevent getting a boil or carbuncle, but some simple steps can reduce your risk.

These include:

  • washing your skin regularly using a mild antibacterial soap
  • always carefully cleaning any cuts, wounds or grazes, even if they look very small
  • keeping cuts, wounds and grazes covered with a sterile bandage until they heal
  • eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise to boost your immune system – this makes you less likely to develop skin infections, such as boils

For further information and advice regarding diet and exercise, see: 

Preventing your boil or carbuncle from spreading

If you develop a boil or carbuncle, it's important to prevent spreading the infection to other parts of your body or to other people. You can do this by:

  • washing your hands with an antibacterial soap after touching a boil or carbuncle
  • washing underwear, bed linen and towels at a high temperature
  • using a separate face cloth and towel
  • keeping any wounds covered with sterile gauze until they heal
  • regularly changing the gauze covering a boil or carbuncle
  • sealing used gauze or dressings in a plastic bag and throwing it in the dustbin immediately
  • avoiding saunas, gyms and swimming baths until your skin has healed

Page last reviewed: 30/01/2015

Next review due: 30/01/2017