Blisters

ExitCare ImageBlisters are fluid-filled sacs that form within the skin. Common causes of blistering are friction, burns, and exposure to irritating chemicals. The fluid in the blister protects the underlying damaged skin. Most of the time it is not recommended that you open blisters. When a blister is opened, there is an increased chance for infection. Usually, a blister will open on its own. They then dry up and peel off within 10 days. If the blister is tense and uncomfortable (painful) the fluid may be drained. If it is drained the roof of the blister should be left intact. The draining should only be done by a medical professional under aseptic conditions.

Poorly fitting shoes and boots can cause blisters by being too tight or too loose. Wearing extra socks or using tape, bandages, or pads over the blister-prone area helps prevent the problem by reducing friction. Blisters heal more slowly if you have diabetes or if you have problems with your circulation. You need to be careful about medical follow-up to prevent infection.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Protect areas where blisters have formed until the skin is healed. Use a special bandage with a hole cut in the middle around the blister. This reduces pressure and friction. When the blister breaks, trim off the loose skin and keep the area clean by washing it with soap daily. Soaking the blister or broken-open blister with diluted vinegar twice daily for 15 minutes will dry it up and speed the healing. Use 3 tablespoons of white vinegar per quart of water (45 mL white vinegar per liter of water). An antibiotic ointment and a bandage can be used to cover the area after soaking.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop increased redness, pain, swelling, or drainage in the blistered area.

  • You develop a pus-like discharge from the blistered area, chills, or a fever.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.