If a blister is not painful, avoid puncturing it. It actually acts as a protective covering to the raw skin under the blister.
Do not cover the blister; if necessary apply a loose bandage around it but make sure the tape does not go all the way around the circumference of the hand or foot. Change the bandage when it gets dirty or wet.
A large blister that is also painful may have to be pricked. If you decide to do it at home, instruments like a pin or needle must be sterilised with alcohol or by a flame. Put the pin to the flame till it becomes red and then let it cool before pricking. Wash the blister and your hands with soap and water. Make a linear incision on one side of the blister, big enough to allow all the fluid to drain out. The fluid is normally clear and odourless. If it smells, it suggests an infection so head to your family doctor.
After the fluid is removed, do not pull the skin off the blister as the raw area underneath heals slowly and acts as a covering protecting it from infection and germs.
Apply an antibiotic ointment on the blister and around it to prevent infection.
Blisters that contain blood or those which reappear need to be evaluated by the physician.
If the blister itches, apply cool wet compresses for relief.
For pain relief, use aspirin, paracetamol or an NSAID twice daily.
Prevention of blisters
- If your feet are prone to blisters with shoes on, apply petroleum jelly to those areas. It lubricates the skin and hence friction is avoided.
- Do not keep the blister covered with gauze or tape. Let it air out for faster healing.
- Try using a heel pad or an insole if the weight bearing part of the foot is susceptible.
- Always wear socks with shoes. Socks and shoes go hand-in-hand so don’t ditch the socks or you risk getting blisters.
- Powder your feet before putting on socks as this reduces friction.
- Athletes can try using 10 per cent tannic acid on areas of the feet prone to forming blisters.
- Avoid going near people who are suffering from infections such as chicken pox, shingles, herpes simplex, impetigo and scabies.
Photograph via sxc.hu
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