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How to Treat an Infected Blister

How to Treat an Infected Blister

Blisters usually heal on their own after a period of time. However, if it is not kept clean, it can get infected, and will require special medical attention. In this HealthHearty article, we shall tell you more about blisters, and how to take care of them if they get infected.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
A blister is a small pocket of fluid on the upper layer of the skin. It will usually form when the outer layer of the skin gets damaged due to trauma or injury. Blisters are filled with a clear liquid known as serum or plasma, which is the part of the blood which remains after the red blood cells and clotting agents have been removed. This serum cushions the hurt skin tissue underneath, protecting it from further damage and allowing it to heal, while the outer layer of skin over the blister provides a natural barrier to any kind of infection.
Causes
  • Injury to the skin due to heat, like from sunburn or a scald.
  • Injury to the skin due to friction.
  • Rubbing of skin, when continued for long, can give rise to blister.
  • Short periods of intense rubbing can also lead to formation of blister.
  • Blood blisters form if the skin is crushed, pinched or squeezed very tightly.
  • Occurrence of blisters on feet and hands is very common, as these areas get rubbed while handling equipment.
  • Moist skin is more susceptible to blister formation than dry skin.
  • Allergies to an insect bite or bee sting may lead to formation of blisters.
  • Certain medical conditions, like herpes, chickenpox, impetigo, etc., can give blisters.
  • Rare skin disorders can also lead to blisters.
Symptoms
  • Slightly bouncy swelling on skin surface.
  • Painful to touch.
  • A blood blister forms a small blood vessel, that is close to the surface of the skin rupture, and blood will leak into a tear between these layers of skin. Blood blisters can be dark in appearance and more painful
  • Blisters are filled with a clear fluid known as serum.
  • Skin around the blister may be red and may feel hot and painful.
Proper Treatment for Blisters

The best way to heal blisters, is to let them be. In most cases, if they are allowed to remain intact, they will disappear in a few days time, when the damaged skin heals. However, if the blisters are broken, the damaged skin beneath will be exposed to bacteria and other infectious organisms in the air, leading to an infection.
An infected blister needs to be handled with care as there is a risk that the infection within might spread to other parts of the body. It is best to prevent a blister from getting infected by properly treating and taking care of it.
Proper Treatment for Infected Blisters
When a blister forms, the liquid within it is clear and translucent. However, when the blister becomes infected it changes to a yellowish white liquid known as pus. It is often also accompanied by a foul smell and increased pain that extends even to the area surrounding the blister.
The first and most important thing to do while dealing with an infected blister, is to seek medical advice. Usually the doctor will prescribe antibiotics which will play a major role in healing the blister, and preventing the infection from spreading via the bloodstream. Obtaining medical aid is all-the-more vital if the blisters are particularly large or if the patient already has a per-existing condition such as an auto-immune disease or skin condition which makes him/her susceptible to bacterial infections.
The next important part of the treatment will be to cover-up the blister, protecting it from further damage and allowing it to heal. Before that however, the doctor might clean up the pus and the area surrounding the blister wound. For smaller blisters, pieces of plaster or a cloth wrap can be used. In case of larger ones, the doctor will typically use a medicated gauze pad, that will be taped to the skin around the blister, thus covering and protecting it. If the blister wound is on an active part of the body like the feet, it is more vulnerable to further damage. To prevent this, a layered dressing of sterile cloth can be applied to the wound thus providing padding. It is important that all the dressings mentioned above are changed on a daily basis to keep the wound clean and to facilitate the healing process.
In case of painful wounds such as those resulting from blood blisters, an ice pack can be used. Note that the ice pack should never be applied directly to the blister. It should be applied over a cloth/plaster dressing to help ease the pain. Ice packs should only be used sparingly, and with the doctor's permission.
Thus, with proper medical attention, the infection in a blister can be prevented from spreading, and the wound itself can be allowed to heal. It is always better to prevent an infection from resulting in the first place by taking adequate care of the blister and allowing it to naturally disappear.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.