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Blister Care


Topic Overview

Try home treatment for blisters:

  • Leave a blister alone if it is small and closed.
    • Protect it from further rubbing by applying a loose bandage.
    • Avoid the activity that caused the blister.
  • Protect the blister with a doughnut-shaped moleskin padClick here to see an illustration. if you are putting pressure on the blistered area. Leave the area over the blister open.
  • Drain a blister that is larger than 1 in. (2.5 cm) across. The following is a safe method:
    • Clean a needle with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
    • Gently puncture the edge of the blister.
    • Press the fluid in the blister toward the hole to drain it.
  • Once you have opened a blister or if it has torn open, wash the area with soap and water.
  • Do not remove the flap of skin that covers the blister unless it is very dirty or torn, or pus forms under the blister. Gently smooth the flap flat over the tender skin underneath.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment, such as bacitracin or Polysporin, and a sterile bandage. Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or Mercurochrome on the blister. They can harm the tissue and slow healing.
  • Change the bandage once a day, or whenever it gets wet, to reduce the chance of infection.
  • Remove the bandage at night or any time you know the area will not be irritated.

If the skin around or under the blister becomes red, warm, or painful, or if a fever or pus develops, an infection may be present.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedOctober 12, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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