The skin around the boil becomes infected. It turns red, painful, warm, and swollen.

The appearance of a boil can change over time. Many boils start out as tender, pinkish-red, and firm lumps. Over time, they can become softer, larger, and more painful. Boils are usually small (pea-sized) and contain a white or yellow center. Boils may ooze, weep, or crust. Some boils grow quickly with more boils appearing next to the original one.  Some boils can become as large as a golf ball. Occasionally, boils may drain on their own and become less painful as this happens.

A person with a boil may develop other possible symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Skin redness around the boil

Contact your healthcare provider if you develop a fever or chill, your lymph nodes become swollen, your boil lasts more than two weeks, the pain becomes severe, or if a boil comes back or appears on the face or spine.