Understanding Blisters -- Treatment

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on April 21, 2021

What Are the Treatments for Blisters?

Most blisters caused by friction or minor burns do not require a doctor's care. New skin will form underneath the affected area and the fluid is simply absorbed. Do not puncture a blister unless it is large, painful, or likely to be further irritated. The fluid-filled blister keeps the underlying skin clean, which prevents infection and promotes healing.

But if you need to pop a blister or it pops by itself:

  • Use a sterilized needle (to sterilize it, put the point or edge in a flame until it is red hot, or rinse it in alcohol).
  • Wash your hands and the area thoroughly, then make a small hole; the fluid will drain on its own.
  • If the fluid is white or yellow, thick or smelly, the blister may be infected and needs medical attention.
  • Do not remove the skin over a broken blister. The new skin underneath needs this protective cover.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment or cream.
  • Look for signs of infection to develop, including pus drainage, red or warm skin surrounding the blister, or red streaks leading away from the blister.

How Can I Prevent Blisters?

  • Wear work gloves. Jobs you do only occasionally, such as shoveling snow or raking leaves, are great for raising a blister or two.
  • Wear shoes that fit and are comfortable. New shoes should be broken in gradually. Wear padded socks or put some adhesive padding where your foot is rubbing.
WebMD Medical Reference


American Academy of Family Physicians.

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