How to Treat Blisters


A blister is a small pocket of fluid within the upper layers of the skin, typically caused by forceful rubbing (friction), burning, freezing, chemical exposure or infection. Most blisters are filled with a clear fluid called serum or plasma. However, blisters can be filled with blood (known as blood blisters) or with pus (if they become infected). A small, unbroken blister less than 1 in. (2.5 cm) across, even a blood blister, will usually heal on its own. Blisters can be annoying and painful. Fortunately, there are many simple home remedies for blisters that can help to ease the pain and speed healing.

Treat friction blisters

If it is small and closed, leave it alone and take steps to keep it from growing larger – stop walking, change shoes. If you will continue to perform the activity that caused the blister, cover the blister with a bandage or other protective covering, such as moleskin. If a blister has burst, do not peel off the dead skin on top of the blister. Allow the fluid inside to drain and then cover the blister and the area around it with a dry, sterile dressing to protect it from infection until it heals.  However, sometimes you may need to pierce it before you find relief. Be sure to wash your hands first, then follow the steps below:

Clean the area around the blister, preferably with iodine alcohol or another solution with the ability to kill germs.

Sterilize a needle in boiling water or soaking it in alcohol.

Use the sterilized needle to pierce the blister in a few places along one side of the water blister.

Gently rub the non-pierced area of the blister to help release fluid.

Dab on some antibiotic ointment, tea-tree oil or clean your skin with a sterilizing-wipe and cover the area with gauze or a gel dressing.

Treat blood blisters

Blood blisters should be left to heal naturally, you probably do not need to seek medical attention, but there are things you can do to expedite the healing process. The first step in blood blister treatment is to elevate the part of your body with the blood blister above your heart. This will help stop the bleeding and reduce swelling or pressure. Next, apply an ice pack to the affected area to help alleviate pain. To stop the ice touching your skin directly, place a towel over the affected area before applying the ice pack. Between 10 and 30 minutes should help.  If a blood blister bursts, keep the area clean and dry. Protect it with a sterile dressing to prevent infection. If the redness spreads or if the swelling does not go away, you may want to call a doctor.

Treat burn blisters

In many cases, a small, second-degree burn blister can be treated at home. Blisters caused by a burn should never be drained or popped. These blisters are filled with a protective fluid called serum, which actually helps the blister heal. If you get a burn blister, run cold water over the affected area of skin for three to four minutes immediately after the burn occurs. Alternatively, you may soak the burned skin in cool water for the same amount of time. When you’re done washing, let the burn blister air dry if possible. The next step in your burn blister treatment, is to cover it loosely with a sterile bandage. Some people also apply antibacterial ointment before applying a bandage. Change your bandage after 24 hours, or any time that the bandage becomes wet, dirty or fails to adhere to the skin. Apply more antibacterial ointment before covering the blister burn with a fresh dressing. Continue to change the bandage and apply ointment daily. Since burn blisters may continue to cause pain after first aid treatment has been applied, you may consider taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help minimize the discomfort.

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