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Blister Care

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Blister Care

Overview

Most blisters heal on their own. Home treatment may help decrease pain, prevent infection, and help heal large or broken blisters.

  • Bandage small blisters.

    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.

  • Don't drain a blister unless you really need to.

    It's best not to drain a blister at home. But if a blister is large and very painful, or it's in a spot where it can't avoid getting popped, you may need to drain it. If you do decide to drain your blister, be sure to follow these steps:

    • Wash your hands and gently wash the area around the blister.
    • Wipe a needle with rubbing alcohol.
    • Gently puncture the edge of the blister.
    • Press the fluid in the blister toward the hole so it can drain out.

    Don't drain a blister of any size if:

    • You have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease. Draining a blister increases your risk of infection.
    • You think your blister is from a contagious disease, such as chickenpox. If you drain that type of blister, the virus can spread to another person.
  • Clean and cover a torn or drained blister.

    If a blister has torn open, or after you have drained a blister:

    • Carefully smooth the flap over the tender skin and keep the area as clean as possible. Don't remove the flap unless there is pus or the area looks infected.
    • If the flap of skin over a blister is very dirty or has torn, gently wash the area. If possible, put the flap of skin back in place. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on the blister. They can slow healing.
    • You may cover the blister with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
  • Watch for signs of infection.

    Watch for a skin infection while your blister heals. Signs of infection include:

    • Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth around the blister.
    • Red streaks leading from the blister.
    • Pus draining from the blister.
    • A fever.

Credits

Current as of: July 11, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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