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Broken Blisters: Home Treatment


Topic Overview

If a blister has broken, popped, or torn open, the following home treatment measures may help prevent infection:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water. Do not touch the broken blister with your hands or any unclean object. Broken blisters can easily become infected. If medical gloves are available, use them when touching your blister.
  • Wash the area with soap and water. Pat it dry with clean gauze.
  • Remove the flap of skin covering the blister only if it is torn or dirty or pus has formed under it. Use clean scissors to cut off the flap. If the blister has just a tiny puncture or break, leave the flap of skin on and gently smooth it flat over the tender skin underneath.
  • Put an antibiotic ointment such as polymyxin B or bacitracin on the blister. The ointment will prevent the bandage from sticking to the blister and may help prevent infection. Do not use an ointment if you know you are allergic to it.
  • Put on a sterile bandage or gauze.
    • Use 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. Also, if the tape is too tight, you may develop symptoms below the level of the tape, such as numbness, tingling, pain, or cool and pale or swollen skin.
    • 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 every day and any time it gets wet or dirty. This will reduce the chance of infection. If desired, soak the bandage in cool water just before removing it to make it less painful to take off.
    • Remove the bandage at night to let the area dry.
  • Do not use alcohol or iodine on the blister because these may delay healing.
  • Avoid wearing the shoes or doing the activity that caused a friction blister until the blister heals.

Watch for signs of 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.
  • Fever or chills.

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 RevisedApril 21, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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