DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I wonder if you will discuss boils. I have a friend who gets them. They look awful, and she sometimes runs a fever with them. They bust and drain, but come back. She is very beautiful. By the way, she is my daughter. She is 21. What causes this? – A.P.

Boils are pockets of infection and inflammation that arise from deep in the skin and are seen as red bumps on the skin surface. The staph germ is the culprit. It finds its way into the skin through a nearby hair follicle.

Recurrent boils are a difficult problem. Your daughter must be checked for conditions that make a person susceptible to boils: diabetes, a low white-blood-cell count (white blood cells fight infections) or illnesses that weaken the immune system. She also must go on a program to rid her skin of the staph germ.

Before retiring for the night and again in the morning she should shower. During the day, she should wash her hands frequently with Hibiclens (chlorhexidine 4 percent), an antibacterial soap. Staph can cling to her fingers, and she can transfer them to other body locations. She must change her sheets, pillowcases and underwear daily, and wash them in hot water. Staph germs hide inside the last inch or so of the nose. She should cover that part of the nose with a light coat of Bactroban (mupirocin) ointment twice a day. She must cover any draining boil with a dressing, and change dressings every day. Success won’t occur overnight, so she has to be patient and faithful to this program.

If the boils don’t stop, then she needs to see her doctor and ask that the drainage from a boil be cultured to determine what the bacterium is and to what antibiotic it is susceptible. It might be one of the resistant staph germs called MRSA.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I inhale every word you say as being the truth. What is this Sun Chlorella? A doctor says it makes one live longer, better, faster and greater. The Japanese take it and live healthier and longer lives than we do. Is this the case? – C.C.

Sun Chlorella is made from algae, primitive water plants. It contains vitamin C, beta carotene, many B vitamins, vitamin K, zinc, calcium, iodine, magnesium, iron and copper. It is popular in Japan. Inhale some more truth from me. I don’t know if it will fulfill all those claims, but it won’t hurt you. Are you positive the Japanese are all that healthy?

Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Readers may also order health newsletters from

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