Blisters Causes And TreatmentA blister is a small pocket of fluid within the upper layers of the skin, typically caused by forceful rubbing (friction), burning, freezing, chemical exposure or infection. Most blisters are filled with a clear fluid called serum or plasma. However, blisters can be filled with blood (known as blood blisters) or with pus.
Other types of injuries to the skin that may cause a blister include:
•Burns from exposure to heat, electricity, chemicals, radiation from the sun, or friction.
•Cold injuries from being exposed to cold or freezing temperatures.
•Some spider bites, such as a bite from a brown recluse spidercamera. Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite include reddened skin followed by a blister that forms at the bite site, pain and itching, and an open sore with a breakdown of tissue (necrosis) that develops within a few hours to 3 to 4 days following the bite. This sore may take months to heal.
•Pinching the skin forcefully, like when a finger gets caught in a drawer. A blood blister may form if tiny blood vessels are damaged.
Symptoms of a blister
•Reddened and tender skin patch
•Raised lump filled with clear fluid
•Sometimes, the lump is filled with blood.
Infection can cause either a single blister or clusters of blisters
•Chickenpox camera (varicella) is a common contagious illness that is caused by a type of herpes virus. Chickenpox blisters begin as red bumps that turn into blisters and then scab over. It is most contagious from 2 to 3 days before a rash develops until all the blisters have crusted over.
•Shingles camera , often seen in older adults, is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles blisters look like chickenpox, but they usually develop in a band on one side of the body.
•Cold sores camera , sometimes called fever blisters, are clusters of small blisters on the lip and outer edge of the mouth. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Cold sore-type blisters that develop in the genital area may be caused by a genital herpes infection.
•Impetigo camera is a bacterial skin infection. Its blisters, which often occur on the face, burst and become crusty (honey-colored crusts).
•Infected hair follicles (folliculitiscamera) cause red, tender areas that turn into blisters at or near the base of strands of hair.
•A scabiescamera infection, which occurs when mites burrow into the skin, may cause tiny, itchy blisters that often occur in a thin line or curved track.
•Bedbugs camera can cause tiny, itchy blisters anywhere on the body.
Causes of blisters
A blister is usually the body’s attempt to cushion the underlying skin tissues from further damage during the healing process. Some common causes of blisters include:
•Friction (for example, using a shovel all day without gloves can cause blisters on the palms of the hands)
•Scalds or burns
•Allergic reaction to irritants
•Viral skin infection (such as herpes/warts)
•Fungal skin infection (such as tinea on the soles of the feet or between the toes).
It is fair to say that there are differing schools of thought as to whether to pop a blister or not. Some advise leaving well alone - wash the area and swab it with alcohol or iodine, then cover with an adhesive bandage. This removes the source of friction and nature can be allowed to take its course. Other physicians and sports injury specialists recommend popping the blister, especially if a large one, as this will assist faster healing.
To open a blister, first wash and dry the foot thoroughly. Swab the blister with alcohol or other disinfectant and then carefully puncture the edge with a flame sterilized needle or razor blade. Now drain the fluid but don't peel off any skin. Clean again with disinfectant and dry.. Apply a bandage, but remove at night to allow blister an opportunity to breath and dry out. Reapply bandage in the morning after your bath or shower. If it stays moist, healing is postponed and infection can set in.
Remember, don't attempt self-treatment if you are a diabetic or have circulatory problems or are otherwise insure - seek the advice of a doctor.
Medical treatment for blisters
•Proper and sterile drainage of fluid
•Professional dressing or padding techniques
•Antibiotics, in the case of a bacterial infection
•Antifungal preparations, in the case of fungal infection
•Antiviral preparations, in the case of viral infection
•Treatment for any underlying allergy.
Self-help for blisters
Blisters rarely need medical attention, unless they are severe, recurrent, caused by burns or indicative of an underlying infection. Suggestions for treating a simple friction blister yourself include:
•Resist the temptation to burst the blister. You could cause an infection or hinder your body’s healing process.
•If the blister has burst, don’t peel off the baggy skin pocket – let your body heal the area in its own way and in its own time.
•Frequently wash the area with salt water and keep it free from dirt or irritants.
•If the site of the blister makes it vulnerable to popping (for example, a blister on your foot may be broken by the friction of socks or shoes), pad it with a soft dressing, securely taped. Make sure the middle part of the dressing doesn’t stick to the blister itself.
•Don’t use tape alone, as removing the tape may rip the skin off the blister.
•Change the dressing daily.
•If the blister breaks, press gently to remove the fluid and apply an antiseptic (such as iodine) to reduce the risks of infection.
•Avoid ‘folk remedies’ like applying butter or vinegar. These don’t work.
Seek medical attention
•The blister is caused by burns, scalds or severe sunburn
•The blister starts weeping pus (yellow or green, sometimes smelly, fluid)
•The area becomes increasingly swollen or inflamed
•You suspect the blister is caused by some type of skin infection or allergic reaction.
Prevention of blisters
•Wear properly fitted shoes.
•Choose moisture-wicking socks (socks that draw sweat away from your feet) or change socks twice daily if you have sweaty feet, as wet socks cause friction and rubbing.
•Wear ‘sports socks’ when exercising or playing sports.
•If you become aware of a localised ‘hot’ area on your foot, stop your sport and tape the area immediately.
•Apply a foot spray deodorant to reduce sweating and therefore the risk of fungal infection.
•Change damp socks promptly, as wet socks can drag against the skin.
•Wear heavy-duty work gloves when using tools such as shovels or picks.
•Protect yourself against sunburn with clothing, hats and sunscreen lotions.
•Avoid unnecessary skin contact with chemicals.
•Be careful when dealing with steam, flames or objects that radiate heat (such as electric stovetops).
It is better to leave blisters uncovered, but if something is rubbed against it, you can cover it with a loose, adhesive bandage or dressing until it heals. A large blister can be covered with a larger adhesive bandage with a porous, plastic-coated gauze pad. Symptoms of Fever blister start with itching, soreness and tingling in a day or two, after that appears small, red and painful blisters and usually located on the skin of the lips, mouth, and face.
Other Related Products:
Gold Bond Chafing Defense Soothing Formula - 1.75 oz
Moleskin softstrips spots by profoot, 1 ea
Spenco 2nd skin blister kit, complete blister protection - 1 ea
Flexitol blistop advanced foot care for blister prevention - 1.1 oz
Band-Aid Advanced Healing Blister, Cushions - 6 ea