Blisters are painful swellings of the skin that are filled with a clear liquid. When the skin gets injured due to friction or pressure, the fluid collects in between the epidermis and the lower layers of the skin. This clear liquid is the serum that is secreted by the tissues surrounding the affected area. It protects the underlying tissues as the process of formation of the new skin continues.
In certain cases the blister may be filled with blood and forms what is known as blood blisters. In case the blister gets infected, it may lead to pus formation. They may also develop due to friction, pressure, or chemical exposure. Some people who have sensitive skin are very prone to develop these swellings. Hence, it is important to know how to get rid of them.
The most common factor that results in blisters is friction which generally affects hands and feet. Repeated rubbing or constant pressure on the skin may cause a tear in the epidermis which may also cause this condition. The result is that this layer separates from the dermis below it, and the space created is filled with a protective fluid which helps in the natural healing process. Other than this, irritation due to burns and sunburns (which cause heat blisters), allergies, infections, and certain medications may also cause cause their development. Sometimes certain diseases, specially those of the skin and fever may also result in their formation.
Blisters generally heal on their own, but certain steps can be taken to lessen the pain and irritation caused by them. We are told not to puncture the swelling, but it is very difficult to resist the itching. Nevertheless, once you have it, make sure that proper care is taken to avoid contracting any infection.
The best way to treat the it is to let them heal naturally. As the new skin is formed below, the fluid will be reabsorbed into the skin. Nevertheless this is the safest way to heal them. This is usually done when the blister is small and does not cause any discomfort while carrying out everyday tasks. So, all that you need to do is take care of it so that it can heal naturally. For this, ensure that the it is dry and cover it up with a bandage. A corn pad can also be used over the pus-filled swelling. Cover it up with a cotton gauze to avoid pressure on it. In case of blisters on feet, avoid footwear that would cover or put pressure on the affected part.
Despite all the care, blisters do pop at times. In case it does, it is important to wash the area with a mild soap, apply some antiseptic cream, and cover it up with a clean bandage. Even if it does pop, do not try to peel off the remaining skin, as it may further cause infection. Just clean the area everyday as instructed, put some antiseptic cream, and cover it up to avoid exposure to germs.
In certain cases it does become important to drain them. In case where they are caused due to severe burns (third degree or fourth degree burns) then the doctor may himself burst the blisters. Nevertheless sometimes people burst it themselves in case it causes discomfort. Although it is not recommended to burst them, for those who have to do it, the safest way to go about it is:
- Clean the area by rubbing alcohol or an antibacterial soap.
- The next step is to puncture the blister. It is best to use a syringe with a sterilized needle. If you are not using a syringe, then sterilize the pin by holding it over the flame till it starts glowing. Let it cool, and then use it to pop the blister.
- Puncture it at the base, and gently press it to drain out the liquid. In case you are using a sterilized syringe, pull the plunger back so that the needle sucks the fluid. Ensure that all the fluid has been drained out of it, and the skin covering it is intact, as this reduces the chances of infection.
- Put some antibiotic cream and cover it up with a clean, dry bandage.
Apart from this, some people may get them in the mouth as well. The treatment method used in such cases is different from those discussed in the article. Despite knowing the ways to treat blisters, one may reduce their occurrences considerably by wearing well-fitting shoes, and using protective gloves while doing work that involves severe friction.