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What the Heck are Boils?

You may have noticed a skin growth that looks similar to a pimple, but then it starts to grow bigger and feel more painful. Maybe that growth is a boil, or in medical terms, a furuncle. It’s a bacterial infection of the skin, specifically the hair follicles (hence, folliculitis), that can grow up to the size of a golf ball and looks like an oversized pimple.

How Boils Form
The boil is a deep infection that will look like it has several heads or it could also be a huge pimple with an abscess, which contains pus. They form when the naturally-occurring bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (other bacteria and fungi can also cause boils) enters a hair follicle wall or oil gland when there is an injury to the skin. This bacterium populates the armpits, between the legs, the area between the buttocks, and the nostrils, that’s why most boils also form in these areas. The bacteria will thrive in the hair follicle and that’s when the pus starts to accumulate, and the boil grows bigger within 10 days.

Sometimes a person with boils might experience fever due to the infection of the surrounding tissue called cellulitis. It’s also possible to have more than one boil or to have boils that appear as a group with several heads called carbuncle. These are symptoms of a more serious infection that needs immediate attention.

The boils are not caused by poor hygiene, but boils are also related to other medical conditions such as iron deficiency, anemia, diabetes, eczema, obesity, and immune deficiency. Athletes who share equipment and people who also live in poorly ventilated and tightly-packed areas (such as prisons) are also prone to having boils.

How to Get Rid of Boils
They look disgusting, alright, but before you laugh, you should get them treated to avoid complications such as blood or tissue sepsis, bone/heart/brain/spinal cord infection, abscesses in other organs, and scarring.

Boils are usually treated by drainage or incision and do not need oral medication. But for recurring boils and serious infections, the doctor might prescribe an antibiotic that you need to take for several weeks and an ointment or antiseptic that should be applied on the boils. You will also be advised to observe proper hygiene by using antibacterial or antiseptic soap for a week and to clean the skin with 70% isopropyl alcohol everyday for a week.

If you live with your family, they will also be advised to follow the same cleaning routine to stop the spread of the infection.

Some people will also need special antibiotics such as rifampicin and clindamycin. In severe cases like antibiotic resistance, a culture is recommended.

To prevent the recurrence of the infection, you will need to observe the following practices:

• Reduce weight if you are obese
• Quit or avoid smoking
• Wash your hands thoroughly several times a day
• Bathe everyday
• Avoid sharing of personal items such as towels
• Change your clothes everyday
• Taking iron supplements (if you’re iron-deficient)
• Decrease the sugar in your diet
• Practice proper wound care

Colour of Our Eyes Determine Alcoholism Risk  


They say that eyes are the windows of one soul. In the recent studies, it does not only tell one’s soul but possibly one’s diseases or risk. Let it be known that the colour of our eyes may determine alcoholism risk. This study is intriguing but it can be useful in alcohol dependency diagnosis not only here in Singapore but the whole world.


According to the researchers of University of Vermont’s Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, people with light colour eyes (that is, blue, gray, green and light brown) may have higher risk of alcoholism than those with dark brown eyes.

Many Singaporeans are kind of skeptical about this but the researchers revealed their method. The study included 1, 263 respondents (Americans with European ancestry); the group is composed of 992 people identified with alcohol dependence and 271 who are not alcoholics. At the end of the study, researchers established that the degree of alcohol dependence is 54% higher among people with light coloured eyes than those with dark brown eyes.


Their study further revealed that the occurrence of alcoholism is the highest for people with blue eyes – the rate is about 80%. Despite the discovery, the researchers still do not know the reasons about the link but they continue to examine it.

Aside from revealing alcohol dependency, the colour of the eyes can also reveal people’s risk of addiction, psychiatric illness and other behavioural problems. For a detailed discussion of the study, it can be read at the July issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Generics (Part B).


5 Cures for Hangover  

Do you repeatedly find yourself in bed on Sundays (even until Mondays) due to overindulging yourself with alcohol on Saturdays? Well, don’t let hangover ruin you the next day by taking this matter into your own hands.


You may have heard of some popular cures for hangover, such as not mixing drinks, drinking milk beforehand, and drinking juice afterwards, but which of these are really effective? Here are our recommended remedies to make sure you’ll not be suffering from headache in the morning.

1. Have a Cup of Coffee: Some say that coffee only aggravates dehydration, but a recent study shows that caffeine counteracts the chemical compounds of pure alcohol and thus help relieve main hangover symptom—a headache.

2. Eat Bananas: Along with draining fluids out of your system, alcohol also reduces the potassium level of the body. Since banana is the most potassium-rich food we know, go grab some after night of heavy drinking.

3. Load Up on Fruits: Freshly squeezed fruit juice is full of vitamins that can instantly boost your dipping energy level. If a fresh orange juice is just too acidic for you, dilute it with water or make an orange smoothie with yoghurt and banana instead.

Cropped image of a girl eating fruits

4. Hydrate Yourself: Drink water or fruit juice for every shot or glass of alcohol you take to balance the alcohol’s dehydrating effect. However, avoid fizzy drinks (particularly soda) as these are usually sugary and can speed up the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Before going to bed, drink a pint of water and one for each hour the next day to replenish the lost fluid in your system.

5. Get Plenty of Seep: Your best defence to combat hangover is to get plenty of sleep. While it’s easier said than done, getting more sleep means lesser symptoms of hangover as it is the best way for the body to concentrate on recovery.

When you don’t want to take medicines and want to go more natural in curing hangovers, these suggestions are effective solutions. Drinking is fun but hangovers are not, so take these cures and give each of them a try.


4 Subtle Signs You Could Have a Heart Problem  

Do you suspect there’s something wrong with your health, particularly your heart’s health? Even if you haven’t been diagnosed yet with a heart condition, it’s best to know whether or not you’re headed to one. Here are four subtle signs to watch out for; make sure to see a doctor if you’re concerned about them.


  1. You Feel Extremely Tired

It isn’t just a lack of sleep, you just feel extremely fatigue. Think of how you feel when you have flu, except that this doesn’t go away. The unexplainable fatigue you feel is likely because the heart is struggling to pump blood and deliver oxygen to the body. However, don’t conclude you have heart problem from this alone.

  1. Your Feet are Swollen

While swollen feet can be caused by a variety of medical issues, such as varicose veins, pregnancy, and limited space for the foot to move around (e.g. tight shoes), it is also highly linked to heart conditions. Heart-related foot swelling is commonly accompanied by other symptom, such as fatigue and shortness of breath. If you experience such, see a doctor to be sure.


  1. You Can Actually Hear Your Heart

Some people with a faulty valve hear their own heartbeat when they try to fall asleep. If you’re experiencing something like this, discuss it with your doctor to find out why. A pounding heartbeat could also be a sign of low blood sugar, anemia, dehydration and low blood pressure.

  1. Walking is Very Painful Sometimes

If regularly experience cramping of leg muscles and hip when you walk, climb, or move, see your doctor as this could be a sign of peripheral arterial diseases (PAD). If you’re diagnosed with PAD, there’s 50% chance that one of your heart arteries is blocked. The good news, though, is that PAD is a treatable condition.

A heart problem is a no joke. It is an often-imperceptible problem that could become fatal if left unattended. If you happen to exhibit any of these signs, take extra precaution and discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible.


10 Unusual Ways to Cool Down Your Body

During hot weather, we always find some place to cool it down. As expected, there are so many ways to do it. One common way to combat the heat is going to the beach and plunge your bodies to the cold waters of the sea. Nevertheless, aside from going to the beach, there are other ways to cool down.


1.       Consuming Some Protein

Foods that is high in protein produces metabolic heat. This can be obtained by eating nuts, eggs, seafood, peas, poultry and meat. Now, it is impossible it avoid all those foods, right? If you have consumed some of the mentioned foods, you have to put your wrists beneath a cold water just for five seconds more often because the vein that is located in the wrist is the primary passage of blood. Thus, whenever, you eat foods that are high in protein during summer, know your limits.

2.       Eating Spicy Foods


It is true that we sweat once we eat spiced goods. The truth here is that, when a person sweats, his outer body part will be heated up. However, on the inner part of the body, the temperature cools down because the sweat that comes out is the heat that is generated by the body.

3.       Taking a Lukewarm Bath

A cold bath before bedtime is alluring. You need to cool down because of the tedious work for the whole day. Taking a bath with warm water is recommended if you want to lessen the hot feeling compared to using cold water.