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First Aid Guide: Dealing with Blisters

Team AckoJan 13, 2023

Blister is a raised bubble-like area of skin that is filled with clear fluid. Blisters can vary in size and shape and result from friction, burns, or infections. And yes, they can be painful! In some cases, the Blister can be left alone; however, in other cases, it may need to be drained, dressed, and treated with medications. So it is important that the underlying cause is determined and treated appropriately. This article contains crucial information regarding first aid for Blisters.

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Contents

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Symptoms of Blisters

Signs and symptoms of Blisters can vary depending on their cause, but they typically include the following.

  • Small, raised bumps on the skin that are filled with clear or cloudy fluid

  • Redness, itching, and burning around the Blisters

  • Tenderness or pain when pressure is applied to the Blisters

  • Crusting or scabbing of the skin around the Blisters

  • Inflammation and swelling of the skin around the Blisters

  • In severe cases, fever and other flu-like symptoms

What causes Blisters?

Common causes of Blisters include the following.

1. Friction

Friction-caused Blisters are the most common. They are usually caused by skin rubbing against another object or surface for an extended period of time.

2. Skin irritation

Irritation caused by skin contact with certain substances can cause Blisters. These substances could be detergents, soaps, etc.

3. Burns

Prolonged contact with a heat source can lead to burns and Blisters to form on the skin.

4. Infection

Some skin infections can cause Blisters, such as chickenpox and shingles.

5. Autoimmune diseases

Certain autoimmune diseases, such as bullous pemphigoid, can cause Blisters to form on the skin.

6. Drug reactions

Some medications can cause allergic reactions, which can lead to the formation of Blisters.

7. Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions may also cause Blisters, such as pemphigus vulgaris.

8. Sun exposure

Contact with ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds can cause Blisters.

9. Chemical exposure

This can occur when the skin comes into contact with a chemical that causes an allergic reaction or irritation. Examples of contact that may cause Blisters include solvents, insecticides and certain cleaning solutions.

First aid for Blisters

Here is the step-by-step guide for treating a Blister at home.

  • Wash your hands before touching the Blister.

  • Gently clean the Blister with mild soap and warm water.

  • Apply a bandage to it to protect it from further irritation or infection.

  • Don’t pop the Blister. Poking or popping it can lead to infection.

  • If it’s painful, cover the area with a loose bandage and take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

  • If the Blister is still painful after a few days, make an appointment with your doctor to have it drained.

  • If the Blister has popped on its own, apply an antibiotic ointment and then cover the area with a sterile bandage.

  • Re-apply bandages and ointment as needed until the Blister is completely healed.

  • Keep the area dry, clean and covered until the Blister has healed.

  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes or shoes that could rub against the Blister and irritate it.

  • Avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals on the Blister, such as alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

How to prevent Blisters

Here’s a rundown of some steps you can take to prevent Blisters from occurring. 

  • Wear shoes that fit correctly. So they don't rub against your feet.

  • Apply moisturiser or lubricant to your feet. Use petroleum jelly, lanolin, or a similar product to reduce friction between your feet and your shoes.

  • Wear padded or cushioning socks, such as those made of wool, silk, or synthetic fibres that wick away moisture and provide cushioning against your skin.

  • Wear fresh, clean socks throughout the day to reduce friction.

  • If you get a Blister, leave it alone and allow it to heal. Do not puncture it or break the skin, as this can lead to infection.

  • If you've been walking or standing for a long period of time, take breaks to reduce your risk of developing Blisters.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions and answers regarding first aid for Blisters.

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How to speed up the healing of a Blister?

A Blister is a kind of wound, and in order to speed up healing, it is important to keep the area clean, dry and covered with a layer of sterile, non-adhesive dressing. Over-the-counter medications containing ibuprofen or paracetamol can also help reduce pain and discomfort. If the Blister is especially large or painful, a doctor may recommend stronger medications such as antibiotics. Applying a cold compress to the Blister can also help reduce pain and swelling.

Can you soak Blisters in salt water?

Yes, soaking Blisters in salt water can provide some relief from the pain and can promote healing. Salt water helps reduce inflammation and can stop the Blister from growing further. Also, salt water can help keep the area clean and free from bacteria.

Should you cover a Blister?

No, you should not cover a Blister. Instead, you should allow the Blister to heal on its own. To keep the affected area clean and protected from further injury, you should try to keep it covered with a loose-fitting bandage or dressing.

Should I cover a Blister when I sleep?

It is not necessary to cover a Blister when you sleep. You can leave it exposed to air, which will help it to heal faster. Having the exposed Blister covered may make it warm and moist, which could increase the risk of infection.

Does ice help Blisters?

Yes, applying ice to a Blister can help reduce swelling, pain and inflammation. It can also help promote healing and protect the sensitive area from further injury or irritation. To use ice on a Blister, wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth or place an ice pack over the area for 15 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Do Blisters pop on their own?

Yes, Blisters can pop on their own. If the skin is rubbed or otherwise irritated enough, the Blister can pop and the fluid will escape.

How would I know if a Blister is infected?

If a Blister is infected, it may be red, warm, or tender. The skin around the Blister may also be red and swollen. In more severe cases, the Blister may contain pus or be draining a cloudy or bloody fluid. Also, you may experience fever and chills if the infection is more severe. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a doctor or healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment.

How would I know if a Blister is healing properly?

It is important to monitor a Blister and its healing process. Signs of proper healing include decreased pain, a reduction in the size of the Blister, and the formation of a hard, protective scab. If the Blister does not appear to be healing at an expected rate, it could indicate an infection or other underlying issue that may require medical attention.

How long does it take for a Blister to heal?

It depends on the severity of the Blister and the individual. Generally, it can take anywhere from 3 to 7 days to 2 weeks for a Blister to heal completely.

Do Blisters get bigger?

Yes, Blisters can get bigger if irritated or filled with more fluid. If you notice a Blister getting bigger or more painful, it is important to take precautions to reduce the chances of infection or further irritation.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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