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Blisters

Wearing a pair of new shoes, gardening without gloves, or getting severely sunburnt are all possible causes for a blister. A blister is a small pocket of fluid within the outer layer and inner layers of the skin. Although typically painful and annoying, a blister is a defence mechanism of our body. They can be caused by friction, usually from shoes or clothing, burns, or infection. Most blisters are filled with a clear fluid called serum; however blisters can be filled with blood, known as blood blisters, or with pus, if they become infected.

Blisters caused from friction rarely require medical attention and simple first aid may assist in their treatment and healing. However, it is important to seek medical advice if your blister is:

  • recurrent;
  • severe and becomes increasingly swollen or inflamed;
  • caused by burns, scalds or severe sunburn;
  • starts weeping pus;
  • you suspect the blister is caused by some type of skin infection or allergic reaction.

Treatment

Blisters rarely require medical attention unless they are severe, caused by burns or are a result of an underlying infection. The following are some suggestions on treating a simple friction blister.

A blister is a defence mechanism of our body. It is important to resist the temptation to burst your blister as this could possibly hinder you body’s healing process. To prevent infection, keep the blister and surrounding area clean by washing the area with salt water. If the site of the blister makes it vulnerable to popping, you may like to cover the blister with a dressing such as Allevyn Adhesive or Allevyn Thin. This dressing should be changed when necessary, according to advice from your Advantage Pharmacist.

If your blister breaks, press gently on the blister to remove and drain the fluid. Try to avoid peeling off the baggy skin pocket and let your body heal the blistered area in its own way and in its own time. Apply an iodine based antiseptic liquid to reduce the risk of infection. You may also like to cover the area with a simple dressing, such as Cutilin Low-Adhesive Wound Pads, and secure it with some Leukoplast Tape. Do not use tape alone on the blistered area, as removing the tape may rip the skin off the blister. Try to repeat this procedure once or twice a day to prevent infection.

Consult your Doctor if there is an increase in redness, swelling or pus around the blister, as these are signs of infection.

Additional Advice and Prevention

  • Shoes - Ensure that your shoes fit correctly. Keep your feet as dry as possible. Wet shoes, boots and socks will cause blisters far quicker than dry ones.
  • Socks - Choose socks that draw sweat away from your feet or change your socks twice a day if you have sweaty feet, as wet socks can cause friction and rubbing. Wear ‘sports socks’ when exercising or playing sports.
  • Taping - If you become aware of a localised ‘hot spot’ area on your foot, tape the area immediately using a tape, such as Leukoplast Tape. If your skin is already starting to blister ,apply a non-adhesive bandage, such as Cutilin Low-Adhesive Wound Pads, with some tape or simply apply a dressing such as Allevyn Thin to the affected area.
  • Gloves - Wear heavy-duty work gloves when you are using tools such as shovels or picks.
  • Avoid Burns - Protect yourself against sunburn with clothing, hats and sunscreen lotions. Try to avoid unnecessary skin contact with chemicals. Be careful when dealing with steam, flames or objects that radiate heat.