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- Friction or constant pressure, such as from wearing a tight-fitting shoe or gripping a tool
- Second-degree burns, including sunburn
- Viral infections, such as chickenpox or shingles
- Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot
- Contact dermatitis, such as poison ivy or oak
- Allergic reactions, drug reactions, certain cancers, and inflammatory conditions
- Severe skin swelling, especially of the legs
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes
- Repetitive work with hand tools
- Getting a sunburn
- Fluid-filled bump on the skin, which is often round
- Fluid is usually clear, but may be bloody
Protect the Area
- Be gentle with the injured area. To prevent further injury, put a bandage over the affected area. The blister should begin to shrink in about seven days.
- Do not pop or lance the blister. Opening the blister increases the chance of infection and delays healing.
- In the case of poison ivy or a viral infection, do not scratch the blister. If necessary, call your doctor for medicine to relieve any itching or discomfort.
Wash the Area
See Your Doctor If:
- The blister is unusually large (for example, bigger than a nickel)
- The blister is in a critical area, such as on the face or the groin
- The blister is associated with a burn
- There are signs of infection, such as increasing redness around the blister, red streaks, severe swelling, pus drainage, fever, or an increase in pain
- Wear shoes that fit properly.
- Always wear socks with your shoes.
- Use gloves or protective padding when working with tools.
- Wear a hat, protective clothing, and sunscreen when out in the sun.
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org/for-the-public/home
American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society http://www.aofas.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Blisters. Better Health Channel website. Available at: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Blisters. Updated May 2012. Accessed January 10, 2013.
Ramsey ML. Avoiding and treating blisters. Phys Sportsmed . 1997;25(12).
- Reviewer: Peter Lucas, MD
- Review Date: 01/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/10/2013 -