Blisters – What to Know and What to Do for Them
A small, unbroken blister less than 1 inch across – even a blood blister – will usually disappear on its own without intervention.
Do not try to break the blister. Just leave it alone.
Leave the blister uncovered unless something rubs against it. If you do cover it:
Apply a loose bandage. Secure the bandage so the tape does not touch the blister. Do not wrap tape completely around a hand, arm, foot, or leg because it could cut off the blood supply if the limb swells.
If the tape is too tight, you may develop symptoms below the level of the tape, such as:
- cool and pale, swollen skin
If the blister is in an area where a pressure is applied, such as on the bottom of your foot, protect it with a doughnut-shaped moleskin pad which is readily available at your local pharmacy. Leave the area over the blister open.
Do not wear the shoes or do the activity that caused a friction blister until the blister is gone.
Wash your hands with soap and water before touching blisters. Blisters can easily become infected. Most large blisters will break on their own and eventually disappear.
What to Do for Large Blisters
If you have a large blister, you may want to drain it depending on where it is. Clean a needle with rubbing alcohol or soap and water, then use it to gently puncture the edge of the blister. Press the fluid in the blister toward the hole you made. Wash the blister after you have drained it, and pat it dry with clean gauze.
Do not remove the flap of skin covering the blister unless it tears or gets dirty or pus forms under it. If the blister has just a small puncture or break, leave the flap of skin on and gently smooth it flat over the tender skin underneath.
You can try applying an antibiotic ointment, such as polymixin B or bacitracin, if you are not allergic to it. The ointment will prevent the bandage from sticking to the blister and may help prevent infection. The use of alcohol or iodine on the blister has been known to cause further irritation. Naturally, do not use an ointment if you know you are allergic to it.
Loosely apply a bandage or gauze. Secure the bandage so the tape does not touch the blister. Do not wrap tape completely around a hand, arm, foot, or leg because it could cut off the blood supply if the limb swells. If the tape is too tight, you may develop numbness, tingling, or cool and pale or swollen skin below the level of the tape.
Change the bandage every day and any time it gets wet or dirty. You can soak the bandage in cool water just before removing it to make it less painful to take off.
Avoid wearing the shoes or doing the activity that caused the blister until the blister is gone, and then, if practical, wear other shoes.
Popular, Natural Ways for Dealing with Blisters
A blister on the skin caused by irritation often results in the outer layer of the skin separating from the lower layer with fluid. In some cases, the blister can become infected and irritated.
1. Cleanse the area around the blister by soaking in warm salt water. Vinegar and warm water or garlic oil will also clean effectively.
2. Protect the blister from friction against shoes and socks. Use a loose bandage or moleskin when wearing shoes and socks and change it once a day. Try to avoid breaking the blister.
The fluid in the blister will naturally absorb back into the skin. The more you protect from anything rubbing up against the blister the faster it will disappear, and the less pain you’ll feel.
3. Preserve the skin covering the area if the blister drains. The skin left after the fluid drains is a natural band aide that shouldn’t be removed. Don’t pop the blister if you can help it. Sometimes you can’t help but put weight on it, and it pops accidentally. Sometimes it is too large and affects your everyday functioning. Sterilize any instrument you use to pop it and then clean the blister area completely to help it go away naturally.
4. Using a cooling lubricant like Aloe Vera or vitamin E may speed recovery. Ice and wet tea bags are also useful and can be applied to the area.
“While in Las Vegas I did a lot of walking in new shoes. I ended up with 2 large fluid filled blisters on both small toes. I used your skin cream and within 24 hours the blisters were resolved.” – J.O.