What Is a Blister?

A blister is a bubble under the skin that is filled with serum (a clear fluid excreted by damaged blood vessels). Blisters are usually itchy, painful and tend to break out on the area of skin where there are frequent rubbing resulting to a fluid filled layer (blister) to develop on the skin. Blood may also form inside the blisters if the blisters are caused by sub dermal injury. This form of blisters often happens when the skin is harshly pinched, crushed, or squeezed. Blisters often formed when the area of the skin receives too much pressure.

Blister Causes

Friction

blisters

When a single area of skin is repeatedly rubbed over extended period of time, a tear forms under the outer layer of skin (epidermis), causing fluid to leak through and become trapped between layers of skin. This is the cause of most hand blisters and foot blisters because they often rub against tight shoes, sports equipment such as rackets, and tools such as rakes or shovels. Also, the thick skin in these areas, along with a moist and warm environment creates the ideal conditions for blister formation.

Irritation

Burns of any kind, including sunburn, can cause blisters to form. Irritating chemicals coming in contact with the skin may also create blisters or as a result of coming in contact with a chemical irritant such as vesicant. Extremely cold conditions can result in frostbite, which can cause blisters when the skin is re-warmed or produced by exposure to severe heat or cold or allergic contact dermatitis which brings about blisters. Also, eczema a skin condition characterized by a persistent rash that may be red, dry, and itchy, can result in blister formation.

Allergic Reactions

If you come into contact with a poison such as poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, blisters may form due to what is called allergic contact dermatitis.

Infections

There are many infections that can cause blisters to appear on your skin; Varicella Zoster Virus (the cause of chickenpox in children, or shingles in adults); Coxsackievirus (Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease infections commonly found in children can produce blisters); Bullous lmpetigo infections caused by either the staphylococci (staph) or streptococcus (strep) bacteria (mostly found in children and appears in small clusters. If impetigo is not treated, it will spread and persist); Herpes Simplex Virus (both 1 and 2 can cause blisters to appear on the mouth or genital areas);

Diseases of the Skin

Many skin diseases can cause blister formation. Some of these include dermatitis herpetiformis (a sensitivity in the intestine to gluten in the diet), epidermolysis bullosa (a rare hereditary disease that makes the skin highly susceptible to blisters as a result of minor friction or irritation), and porphyria cutanea tarda (a condition that causes the skin to be extremely sensitive to sunlight, resulting in sunburn and blisters).

Medication

When taking medications, you should be aware of all side effects as many can cause skin blisters to appear. One such antibiotic prescribed to patients with urinary tract infections (NegGram), and another which is prescribed in cases of high blood pressure and to reduce swelling/water retention (Lasix) can cause blister formation. Other medications, such as doxycycline (Vibramycin), an acne medicine, can increase sensitivity to sunlight, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting blistering sunburn. A more severe reaction to medication such as valdecoxib, penicillins, barbiturates, sulfas, and lamotrigine, could cause a severe and life-threatening condition that affects the skin by causing blisters to form that could cover more than 30% of the body. These allergic reactions are called erythema multiforme (known in extreme cases as Stevens-Johnson syndrome) or toxic epidermal necrolysis syndrome (TENS).

The symptoms of blisters are swelling filled with fluid on the surface of the skin. Blood blisters have darker color and are more painful than other types of blisters. Blisters that are infected will have yellow pus and are painful when one attempts to touch them.

A doctor will ask about your blisters when consulted. He will performed physical examination, ask questions about your family medical history, illness and medications currently taking. If the blister is caused by an allergen, the doctor will encourage you to undergo patch test. Blisters without an apparent cause may be associated with an illness and the doctor may suggest you to undergo more test to determine the cause of blistering.

Blisters can be prevented by avoiding substances that causes irritation to your skin, and minimizing friction. Blisters are also more likely to develop on skin that are warm and moist therefore always wipe your hand with a towel after touching washing it. Avoid chemical irritants and other sources of allergens that can cause blistering on the skin.

How to Get Rid of Blisters

When caring for and treating blisters, you can choose to either let them heal on their own, or drain them yourself. If the blisters are not obtrusive, it’s best to let them heal on their own as puncturing the outer layer of skin will create an open wound and increase the likelihood of infection.

treating blisters

Skin Blisters: If the blister is not painful or obtrusive, give it a chance to heal on its own. The serum inside the blister works to pad and protect the injured skin. Cover the blister with a gauze bandage to protect it. The blister will eventually heal by itself the fluid will be reabsorbed and the skin will return to its normal state. If the blister ‘pops’ or breaks, wash the area with soapy water, and apply a bandage to protect it while it heals.

Draining Blisters: If your skin blister is large and/or painful, and you choose to drain the fluid, take care to leave the outer skin intact. Use these steps carefully in order to help your blister heal faster and continue to protect it.

  • Clean the blister with rubbing alcohol or antibacterial soap.
  • Sterilize a straight or safety pin by using pliers to hold it over a flame until the pin glows red and then allowing it to cool.
  • Using the pin, puncture a small hole in the base of the blister.
  • Using mild pressure, drain the blister.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment to the area like Bacitracin and Polymyxin B Triple antibiotic ointment. Avoid products containing neomycin as this is more likely to cause an allergic reaction.
  • Cover the area with an absorbent, non-stick bandage and change it daily. You may need to change it more often if it becomes wet, dirty, or loose.

In the event that the blister forms a small tear in the outer skin, treat it in the same way as if you had punctured it using the above steps. If the tear is larger, “un-roof” the blister by carefully removing the loose skin with sterilized scissors. Then cleanse the base of the blister with antibacterial soap and water, and apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage as described in steps 5 and 6 above.

Blisters caused by various diseases and illnesses are treated in different ways;

  • If eczema is the culprit, a simple corticosteroid cream may be all that is necessary to get rid of blisters.
  • Blisters resulting from Herpes Simplex or shingle infections are sometimes treated with antiviral medications.
  • An antibiotic cream or pills may be prescribed to eliminate blisters that have come from impetigo.
  • In cases of chickenpox or coxsackievirus, the blisters are usually left to go away naturally.
  • To lessen the discomfort of the itching, an OTC anti-itch cream, such as Calamine lotion, can be used.
  • If you have dermatitis herpetiformis (sensitivity to gluten, found in most grains), you may benefit from a gluten-free diet.
  • In the severe case that you have developed erythema multiforme from an allergic reaction to a medicine, you should immediately discontinue the medication and you may be prescribed a corticosteroid cream.

Know when to contact your doctor

If you have blisters accompanied by other signs of illness, such as a fever or malaise (an overall sick feeling), immediately contact your doctor. Also, if the blisters are from an unknown cause or are very painful, you should see your physician. At any sign of infection (increased pain, redness, or swelling; oozing pus or blood; or red streaks in surrounding skin), it is imperative that you consult a physician immediately.

Home-remedies for blisters

Home remedies for blisters relieve itching and avoids further infection. Although blisters may heal spontaneously, first aid treatment must still be given so as to avoid infection. Below are some steps for the first-aid treatment of blisters:

  • Wash the blister with mild soap and warm water.
  • Ice pack or cold water can be applied to help reduce swelling and uneasiness
  • The areas must be kept dry and clean
  • Use a sterilized dressing or an adhesive bandage to be placed on a blister in case they bursts. This is to keep them clean or sanitized
  • Any signs of infection must be observed.

Types of Blisters

It is important to understand the different types of blisters and what causes them because there may be different treatment tactics and means of prevention. The most common types of blisters include water blisters, blood blisters and burn blisters. But there are also types of blisters that may have been caused by a medical condition, including fever and cluster blisters, impetigo blisters, atopic eczema blisters, or blisters from chickenpox, shingles and dermatitis herpetiformis. The most common types of skin blisters are:

WATER BLISTERS

Have you ever worn shoes that are a little bit too small? Did you get a little blister on your pinky toe or a big blister on your heel? It was most likely a water blister. Water blisters occur when there is too much friction in one place on the skin. This type of blister is usually small and contains a clear liquid called serum. The clear fluid, or serum, in a water blister protects the skin underneath and helps it heal. A water blister will not be bloody or pus-filled. Water blisters can be painful, which most people discover when they touch them. This type of blister is tender and it can feel like it is burning when the skin around it moves. The pain may make it difficult to move, especially if the water blister is located near a joint.

BLOOD BLISTERS

A blister that appears dark red in color is usually a blood blister. The color occurs when tissue and blood vessels under the skin are damaged creating a pouch, or bubble, of blood under the skin. A blood blister can be very painful, but if left alone, it will dry up and heal itself over time. Like a water blister, a blood blister is tender to the touch and can feel like it is burning when the skin around it moves.

BURN BLISTERS

burn blisters

A burn blister occurs when the first two layers of skin are damaged by a second-degree burn. A burn blister is much like a water blister (except that it will be obvious it was caused by a burn as it is extremely painful). Like water blisters, burn blisters are also filled with an important watery fluid called serum. These painful types of blisters can last up to three weeks. This type of blisters is usually caused by a chemical such as poison ivy and washing detergents. Insect bites and stings can also cause blisters to break out on the skin.

Mild blisters can happen as a result of the side effect of the medications like furosemide, and nalidixic acid. Other drug such as doxycycline will cause sun blisters when the skin is exposed to the sunlight. Pemphigus vulgaris and bullous pemphigoid are two blistering disease that are of auto immune cause. Auto immune means the patients become allergic to their own skin and their body systems try to reject their skin. Years ago, pemphigus is an incurable disease and can be fatal. Today, it is seldom fatal and can be controlled by an appropriate medication. Pemphigus begin its infection on the mouth with painful sores and then spread to the other areas of the skin in the form of thin walled, crusted blisters that are short lived. Pemphigoid produce blisters that are thick walled and lasts longer. Pemphigoid blisters have fewer tendencies to form near the mouth and its patients are not as ill as those affected with pemphigus blisters. Cortisone drugs are used to treat pemphigus and pemphigoid conditions. Although these medications produce side effects, its patients are able to lead a normal life. In some cases, doctor may prescribe immunosuppressant to minimize the side effects of the drugs.

FEVER BLISTERS

For many people, the popular and effective fever blister cure now is home remedy for fever blister. Because many people have experienced that home remedy very helpful to relieve the symptoms, no dangerous side effect, increase your immune system and also prevent the recurrent outbreaks. Fever blister is called is called cold sore; herpes oral; herpes labialis. It caused by infection of herpes simplex virus type 1. ]t is a contagious virus that means the virus can spread to other people even to the part of our body. Symptoms of fever blister start with itching, soreness and tingling in a day or two, after that appears small, red and painful blisters and usually located on the skin of the lips, mouth, and face.

Fever blister is a contagious, so always practice good personal hygiene to help you to not spread the virus to other people and even don’t spread the virus to other parts of your own body such as eye, genital. The virus can spread by direct contact (kiss, oral sex, after touch the blister you touch your eye or genital), share items such towel, toothbrush, glass, and other.

Once you get this, the virus will still remain in the nerve cells in your body and may recurrence outbreak again as an active infection triggered by certain of thing.

Fever blisters or herpes

Some of fever blister cure include:

  • Some OTC “over the counter” creams such as super lysine, abreva, viradent gel, etc to fever blisters cure only can relieve the pain, itchy, or comfort the symptoms, they can’t help you to heal.
  • OTC pain reliever includes acetaminophen and ibuprofen. They can help just to reduce the symptoms.
  • Find treatment from doctor or dentist. You will get prescription antiviral medications that are used to treat herpes infections that have been approved by the FDA. Antiviral products are effective when you still using for your blister but after the fever blisters recover, the antiviral product not help you to prevent the recurrent outbreak.
  • When you use any fever blister medication, avoid to squeezing, pinching or picking at any blister, let it heal. And not spread the virus.
  • Use home remedy for fever blister cure. This is the popular fever blister cure now. Some of home remedy that you can use: tannic acid in the tea acts as antiviral, petroleum jelly, lemon balm, Echinacea, herbal sage, tea tree oil and more. If you use home remedy to fever blister cure, they can speed healing and prevent the recurrent outbreaks by buildup immune system in your body to heal from the infection. This is a good reason why you should choice natural home remedy to cure fever blister.

If you suffer for fever blisters, you can decide what the best cure is for you. You decide only cover the symptoms and wait recurrent outbreaks come to you all the time or using the right way and effective fever blisters cure.

BLOOD BLISTERS

A collection of fluid that can be found inside the outer layer of the skin is called blisters. But, if you see that the blister is filled with blood, then it is called as blood blister. It occurs when the blood, lymph and other body fluids are trapped inside the outside layer of the skin. When these blisters erupt, they usually release fluid that has the same color that you see inside the skin. Blood blisters can be red, dark red or dark blue.

The human body protects itself from injury due to pressure or heat in a form of blister. But, if blood vessel ruptures or gets damaged due to the trauma, it causes a pool of blood to form underneath the main surface of the skin, thus, it is called blood blisters. It can also occur due to allergies, skin infection, irritation and scalding of the skin.

Blood blister often occurs on the mouth and on the lip because body parts that have high supply in blood are highly susceptible to it. Sometimes, blood blisters appear on the feet. This is due to wearing of ill-fitting shoes or standing or walking for a long period of time.

Treating of blood blisters varies as some just disappear on their own, thus, treatment is unnecessary whereas some are big and very visible, one can apply ice or a cold pack. The effected part can also be elevated to minimize the swelling or soak it in Epsom salt.

It is important to cover and bandage the blister properly to avoid it from rupturing. It is also discouraged to burst the blister as it can get infected easily. Blisters disappear on their own so there is no need for any treatment. Yet, if the blisters are big, you can go to the doctor so that he can use a clean and sterilized needle to burst the blister. Also, if it ruptures on its own, it is advised to clean the wound immediately and apply antiseptic solution to prevent infection.

To keep the blisters from forming in the toe, wear shoes that fit properly and avoid wearing shoes that are too tight. Wearing very tight footwear increases chances of friction between the foot and the shoe, thus, increasing the chances of blood blister formation. When doing things that increases the chance of developing blood blister in the hand, wear protective material such as gloves. If you usually have blood blisters due to allergic reaction, then stay away from allergens that can trigger it.

Blister on Hands and Feet

blistersBlisters on hands and feet are usually caused by excessive itching. These blisters are a chronic condition and it will cause deep and painful cracks in your skin. This skin condition is a certain type of eczema where tiny blisters form under the skin’s surface and can be seen on the hands and feet. This type of eczema is a reoccurring disease and is characterized by sudden eruptions of clear vesicles.

This eczema skin condition is also associated with allergy, fungal infection and reactions, and constant irritation. It is also important to know that drinking too much coffee and excessive smoking is also associated with this skin condition.

This form of eczema is believed to be seasonal and small fluid filled blisters known as vesicles will appear on the hands and feet. These vesicles are commonly found along the edges of the toes and fingers. They cause a great itching sensation and excessive scratching. The scratching will lead to the skin becoming very thick and other infections.

Sometimes, contact with substances that cause an allergic skin reaction will trigger this condition. Although anyone can experience this condition, individuals who are dealing with a lot of emotional stress are more likely to develop this disease where blisters on hands and feet appear.

The best treatment methods for this skin disorder is the use of special creams and ointments designed to reduce the intense itching and irritation. Severe blisters on hands and feet require more powerful treatment such as antibiotics. Although these treatment methods will help reduce this condition it won’t completely eliminate it. If you are suffering from blisters on hands and feet then you are experiencing a form of eczema, using medications will only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause.

Sunburn Blisters

Unfortunately, virtually everyone on the planet has had to deal with the pain and healing process associated with sunburn blisters. Sunburn is a burn on the skin and a type of skin disorder. It results from overexposure.to the harmful UV rays of the sun. The consequence of this burn is inflammation of the skin as injury can start within 30 minutes of exposure.

Sunburn blisters are associated with 2nd and 3rd degree sunburns, which are considerably more serious that 1st degree burns where you have pain, redness, skin tenderness, and heat, but no blisters. With 1st degree burns, the skin will cool down and turn into a suntan, or possibly there may be some minor peeling. This is the most common form of sunburn, and most of us have one or two of these every summer.

The symptoms of 2nd degree sunburns are extreme redness, pain, swelling and usually blisters. The damage to the deeper layers of the skin extend deeper into the elastic fibers, and the small blood vessels. When the skin begins to heal, you will see wrinkling. Also in severe cases you may see fever, nausea, and chills. While these 2nd degree burns are painful for adults, they are extremely painful and dangerous for small children.

3rd Degree sunburns call for severe sunburn treatment and the care of a medical professional. The symptoms are extreme redness and pain, huge blisters, blisters over large portion of body, white areas within the sunburned area, and swelling. In 3rd degree sunburns you may also see fever, chills, and nausea. Do not waste time trying to use a home remedy for sunburn when 3rd degree sunburns are apparent. Immediately, seek the help of an Emergency Room or your family MD.

Symptoms:

  • Minor sunburn will result in mild redness, itching, rashes. Touching that area can be painful.
  • Sunburn in a light-skinned person may occur within 15 minutes of exposure to sun. Pain reaches its peak 6 to 48 hours after exposure.
  • Severe symptoms include skin burning and blistering, dehydration and infection.
  • Swelling in the skin with the legs being the most common.
  • Skin peeling occurs 3-8 days after exposure.
  • Chill, fever, nausea, vomiting, shock and loss of consciousness.

Treatments

Medical treatment is a must in most cases.

  • As soon as you realize that you are sunburned, start drinking fluids. The very fact that you are sunburned means that your body is dehydrated. Drink water, chicken broth, and sports drinks like Gatorade. You need to balance your electrolytes.
  • Either take a cool oatmeal bath, a cool low-pressure shower, or apply cool compresses to the sunburned areas. Make the compresses from an old towel or some other soft material; gently lay (do not rub the compresses on the sunburned skin. Do not use cold, warm, or hot water for any of these cooling treatments. If you can take the bath, soak for about thirty minutes. Relief should be apparent within the thirty minutes. Continue with the baths for several days.
  • Leave any blisters intact. Resist the urge to pop or break them as the blisters form a protective layer, which not only helps the sunburned skin heal faster, but they also cut down on the opportunity for infection.
  • To prevent a secondary infection, gently wash the sunburned skin with an antibacterial soap.
  • Apply an aloe-based light lotion or jell to the damages sunburned areas. Do not apply any petroleum-based products, butter, oil or heavy creams, as these will only trap the heat and drive the burn deeper, and could eventually lead to infection. If no aloe-based product is available, leave the skin exposed to the air, and apply the aloe as soon as possible. The aloe will both sooth the skin and relieves the itching.
  • Do not peel the skin prematurely as this could also lead to infection. Just let the sunburned layers slough off naturally without help.

Home remedies for sunburn may provide some relief from a mild sunburn, but if you’ve been burned badly from the sun, you won’t get relief immediately. Some remedies include:

  • Use light fitting, cool cloths on sunburned areas.
  • Take frequent cool showers to help ease the pain.
  • Gently apply soothing skin lotions that contain aloe vera to sunburned areas.
  • Sunburns can cause a mild fever and sometimes even a headache. Lie down in a cool, quiet room to ease the pain of the headache.
  • Since sunburn tends to dehydrate a person, a headache may be caused by dehydration, so drink plenty of fluids. No matter how many good home remedies for sunburn you use, the skin is likely to pee! after a sunburn. It’s just part of the healing process and is normal. Home remedies for.sunburn should include a lotion to help relieve the itching.
  • Don’t use alcohol or iodine on the blister because these may delay healing.
  • For fever or pain, Tylenol, Aspirin, Advil, Aleve, Naprosyn or Motrin may need to be used.

Check with a health care professional before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen.