Dealing with blisters

You know what this is like! Running in a new pair of shoes, or burning your finger on the toaster are just two ways you can end up with a blister. Leave it or pop it – the age-old question.

Why do blisters form?

Blisters are pockets of fluid or blood that form in the upper layers of the skin in order to protect the injured layer. They can be caused by friction (rubbing), extreme temperatures, sun burn, chemicals, drug reactions and even some medical conditions like chicken pox.

Pop or leave?

The best treatment for a blister that has not popped is to leave it alone and just cover it with a plaster to prevent further damage. By leaving the blister whole, your body can heal naturally as the unbroken skin forms a natural barrier to prevent infection. While new skin grows under the blister your body re-absorbs the fluid and, eventually, the top skin will peel off.

If the blister has burst, do not peel or cut away the skin – the old skin acts like a protective layer while your body heals underneath. Drain any remaining fluid out, rinse with soap or antiseptic liquid, dry the surface and apply an antiseptic cream – then cover with a plaster. Check regularly for signs of infection, reply antiseptic and a clean plaster.

Please see your doctor if there are any signs of infection, such as yellow or green pus, or the area becomes red and painful.

Dr Ingrid de Beer for HelloDoctor.com

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