The eternal dilemma: Should I drain this thing or leave it alone? In general, don't bother blisters that are small or those that probably won't pop on their own. They are less likely to become infected if you leave the natural covering intact, and under the sheltering cushion of fluid, the area has time to form new skin. Meanwhile, follow these tips to relieve the pain and itching and speed healing. If your blister is large, or in a spot where you can't avoid putting pressure on it, drain it the proper way. Never pop a burn blister, though. There's a serious risk of infection if you do.
Let It Be
- Keep the blister clean with soap and water. You can dab on petroleum jelly or some other emollient to minimize further friction.
- Cover the blister with a clean bandage that you change at least once a day.
- Another option for blister treatment is Preparation H. While this isn't the normal use for the haemorrhoid reliever, the cream has ingredients that relieve itching and burning, and it provides a coating that protects the skin.
If It Pops by Accident
- Wash it with soap and water. Apply a healing cream. Cover it with a bandage. Four times a day, remove the bandage and treat the raw spot with a mixture of one part tea-tree oil and three parts vegetable oil. The tea-tree oil will help kill bacteria and prevent an infection.
- If your blister is large, or in a spot where you can't avoid putting pressure on it, you may be better off draining it rather than trying to protect it. To drain a blister properly, first sterilize a needle. Use a pair of pliers or tweezers to hold the needle over a flame for a few seconds until it glows red. Let it cool.
- Clean the blister with rubbing alcohol or a disinfecting product.
- Open a sterile gauze pad and lay it gently on top of the blister. Pierce the edge of the blister, sliding the needle in sideways, and gently squeeze out the liquid by pressing down on the gauze pad. Make sure you don't tear or remove that top layer of skin-it's protecting an extremely sensitive circle of skin beneath.
- Smear on an antibiotic ointment and cover it with a clean bandage.
- Apply calendula ointment, a product made from marigold. It's traditionally used as a soothing wound healer. To keep the ointment clean, cover it with an adhesive bandage or a gauze pad. At night, remove the bandage so the blistered area is exposed to air.
- Smear some aloe vera gel on the blister and cover it with a bandage to help it heal. But be sure you use the pure gel of the plant. Some processed products contain ingredients, like alcohol, which have a drying effect.
When to consult a doctor
If your blister is extremely large-more than two inches across-you should seek medical care. Symptoms of infection should also send you to the doctor. These include prolonged pain that isn't fading, fever, redness that extends beyond the borders of the blister, yellow crusting, and oozing pus. Some disorders that cause blisters, such as chickenpox, eczema and impetigo, also may require a doctor's care.
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