How to Treat Blisters: First Aid Treatment

A blister occurs when a pocket of fluid forms in the superficial layer of the skin. This fluid causes a bulge underneath the skin. Excessive friction on the skin commonly causes blisters (this may occur as the result of wearing illfitting shoes, for example). The hands and feet are most prone to developing blisters, but they can occur on any part of the body. The fluid produced by a blister is designed to cushion and protect the underlying skin from further damage and aid healing. Bursting a blister will remove this protective layer and also increase the risk of infection developing (see sidebar, Don't Burst Blisters).

First Aid Treatment for a Blister

1. Clean and dry the affected area.

2. Cover the blister with a sterile dressing or specialized blister bandage. Don't apply the adhesive directly over the blister, as this will cause damage when the dressing or bandage is removed.

3. Seek medical advice if the blister shows signs and symptoms of infection.

4. It is generally advised not to burst blisters (see sidebar, Don't Burst Blisters). If a blister bursts by itself, ensure the area is cleaned and covered with a sterile dressing to prevent infection.

It is always better to prevent a blister from occurring in the first place. Simple steps such as wearing the correct footwear can reduce the chances of developing a blister. If you feel an area of friction when walking (for example, on the heel of the foot), you can apply a bandage over the area to protect the skin and prevent a blister from developing.

Don't Burst Blisters

Blisters, like open wounds, cause a break in the protective layer of the skin and are at risk of becoming infected. For this reason, it is advised not to burst blisters as this will create a route of entry for harmful germs. If a blister shows signs of becoming infected, seek medical help.