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Understanding Blisters -- Treatment

Medically 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.