Care of blisters
Home treatment may help decrease pain, prevent infection, and help the skin heal.
- A small, unbroken blister about the size of a pea, even a blood blister, will usually heal on its own. Use a loose bandage to protect it. Avoid the activity that caused the blister.
- If a small blister is on a weight-bearing area like the bottom of the foot, protect it with a doughnut-shaped moleskin pad . Leave the area over the blister open.
- If a blister is large and painful, it may be best to drain it. Here is a safe method:
- Wipe a needle or straight pin with rubbing alcohol.
- Gently puncture the edge of the blister.
- Press the fluid in the blister toward the hole so it can drain out.
- If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease, you do not want to drain a blister because of the risk of infection.
- After you have opened a blister, or if it has torn open:
- Wash the area with soap and water. Do not use alcohol, iodine, or any other cleanser.
- Don't remove the flap of skin over a blister unless it's very dirty or torn or there is pus under it. Gently smooth the flap over the tender skin.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment and a clean bandage. If the skin under the bandage begins to itch or a rash develops, stop using the ointment. The ointment may be causing a skin reaction.
- Change the bandage once a day or anytime it gets wet or dirty. Remove it at night to let the area dry.
Watch for a skin infection while your blister is healing. Signs of infection include:
- Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth around the blister.
- Red streaks extending away from the blister.
- Drainage of pus from the blister.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
- Vision problems continue after you get out of the sun.
- Fever develops.
- Dehydration develops and you are unable to drink enough to replace lost fluids.
- Signs of skin infection in blisters develop.
- Symptoms become more severe or more frequent.