How to treat an abscess with home remedies

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How to treat an abscess with home remedies
Tooth decay can result in a painful jaw abscess. (Svisio/iStock/Getty Images)

An abscess is a pus-filled recess in the skin. They can occur anywhere on the body, but they most often present on the face. If you have an abscess, there are some very effective basic steps you can take to treat it with home remedies before consulting a GP.


  1. 1

    Use heat, the number one home remedy to treat abscesses, to bring the abscess to a head. Place a clean, warm face cloth over the boil for 20 minutes at least three times a day. Rotate face cloths to maintain consistent heat. Warm compresses will bring the abscess to a head.

  2. 2

    Lance the abscess once it has formed a head. While not the most appealing home remedy, lancing an abscess, or boil, is simple. Simply sterilise the head of a pin or needle with alcohol or a flame, poke a hole in the head of the abscess, and allow the pus to drain. You may need to apply gentle pressure to get the pus to drain.

  3. 3

    Apply antibiotic ointment once the pus has drained, and bandage the abscess. Antibiotic ointment is commonly used as a home remedy and works well to treat lanced abscesses.

  4. 4

    Continue using warm compresses a couple of times a day for at least three days to ensure all the pus drains from the abscess. Apply a clean bandage each time you finish using a compress.

Tips and warnings

  • There are some abscesses for which a home remedy is not wise. Abscesses located in the lip, nose, armpit, groin or those in the breast of a breastfeeding woman should be treated by a GP. Also, regardless of location, an abscess that has red lines radiating out from it requires immediate medical attention.
  • Never squeeze an abscess that is located near your lips or nose. The infection could spread to your brain.
  • Improperly treated abscesses can lead to blood poisoning, which can be fatal in extreme cases. If you have any concerns that your abscess is not healing properly, contact your doctor immediately.

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