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Cheryl K.
Cheryl K., Health Enthusiast
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 5525
Experience:  Gen. Medicine/OB/GYN Infectious Disease /STD/Sexual Health/ Orthopaedics/ Pediatrics/Internal
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can i use baking soda as a drawing salve

Customer Question

I have a bite or boil that has persistently come back after two rounds of antibiotics and I would like to draw some of the fluid out of it so that i can be comfortable until i go back to the doctor
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Cheryl K. replied 11 years ago.

Warm compresses are your best bet for bring a boil to a head, gently soak the area with a warm moist washcloth several times daily. Although baking soda is not known to help draw a boil to a head, it cannot hurt. Never attempt to lance it or squeeze it as you risk the chance of the infection spreading. Deep or large lesions may have to be surgically drained by your physician. I have included some information about the treatment of boils below that I feel will be of help to you.


Furuncles may heal on their own after an initial period of itching and mild pain. More often, they progress to pustules that increase in discomfort as pus collects. They finally burst, drain, and then heal spontaneously.

Furuncles usually must drain before they will heal. This most often occurs in less than 2 weeks. Boils that persist longer than 2 weeks, recur, are located on the spine or the middle of the face, or that are accompanied by fever or other symptoms require treatment by a health care provider because of the risk of complications from the spread of infection.

Warm moist compresses encourage furuncles to drain, which speeds healing. Gently soak the area with a warm, moist cloth several times each day. Deep or large lesions may need to be drained surgically by the health care provider. Never squeeze a boil or attempt to lance it at home because this can spread the infection and make it worse.

Meticulous hygiene is vital to prevent the spread of infection. Draining lesions should be cleaned frequently. The hands should be washed thoroughly after touching a boil. Do not re-use or share washcloths or towels. Clothing, washcloths, towels, and sheets or other items that contact infected areas should be washed in very hot (preferably boiling) water. Dressings should be changed frequently and discarded in a manner that contains the drainage, such as by placing them in a bag that can be closed tightly before discarding.

Antibacterial soaps and topical antibiotics are of little benefit once a furuncle has formed. Systemic antibiotics may help to control infection.

Drainage is the definitive treatment.