Eli5: Why does soaking an infected wound or toe in hot water draw out pus? How does it work, and how practical is this practice?

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Eli5: Why does soaking an infected wound or toe in hot water draw out pus? How does it work, and how practical is this practice?

In: Biology

I’m in no way an expert but I believe it probably works at least in two ways. First of all, heating the wound will increase the blood flow by dilating the vessels and thereby your body inceases its local repair activities.

Drawing out the pus is also partly done by water dissolving the proteins that cover the wound. Then osmosis takes care of the rest by dissolving the pus and pulling it out and the water forcing itself into the wound.

I’m not sure how it works if the infected area is no open wound. It might simply be the increased activation by heat. Thereby making the process go faster together with making the outer layer softer

I’m in no way an expert but I believe it probably works at least in two ways. First of all, heating the wound will increase the blood flow by dilating the vessels and thereby your body inceases its local repair activities.

Drawing out the pus is also partly done by water dissolving the proteins that cover the wound. Then osmosis takes care of the rest by dissolving the pus and pulling it out and the water forcing itself into the wound.

I’m not sure how it works if the infected area is no open wound. It might simply be the increased activation by heat. Thereby making the process go faster together with making the outer layer softer

It doesn’t necessarily. It’s a start, because heat improves circulation, and water can do some flushing. If it’s circulating water. A stagnant hot bowl of just water won’t actually draw out puss, it will actually just relax the infected tissue which might permit the pressure from the infection to release through the dissolving wound, if there’s actually a skin penetrating wound. Adding an anti-bacterial solvent to the hot water is more helpful. Salt, alcohol, sugar, there are also drawing salves that have herbal components that can have an enhancing effect on the heat and dissolving capabilities of the bath

If there’s no skin penetration to begin with, the infection will usually be lanced…..

This is not advice. Just answering your question.

Disclaimer: lancing should be performed by a professional, on a closed course, not attempted at home. 😉