Blisters: The Best First Aid Advice And Treatment


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Blisters First Aid Treatment Advice

Blisters come in many forms and are caused by burns, friction, ropes, spider bites, chicken pox, shingles, cold sores, and chronic health conditions, and they all require different yet the same special treatment.

Who over forty doesn’t have fond memories of a childhood spent with blisters that became calluses on their palms from playing on the monkey bars, swings, and flying fox in the local playground? Or getting sunburnt so badly you were covered in burn blisters and bedridden for a week? Perhaps it was the pair of shoes you had to wear in, even if they rubbed your heels and toes raw and gave you blisters.

No matter how your blisters manifested, the little pocket of fluid is both fascinating and icky. The temptation to pop them and release the fluid is a temptation few can resist, but every time you pop a blister, you are slowing down your healing time and are likely to leave a scar.

Contained within each blister is a fluid, filled with nourishing and healing properties the body naturally produces to repair the damage to the skin under the blister. When you pop the blister and release the fluid, you take away the body’s natural repair kit and open the unhealed skin below the wound to infection.

So the first rule of blisters is Never pop the blister! Once the skin below the fluid has healed, the blister will naturally rupture, and the fluid will leak out. You likely won’t even feel it happen. The old dead skin above the freshly healed skin will also die off and be shed. Try to resist the urge to pull it from the wound area as it can cause a tear or rip in the new skin and open it to infection.

First Aid For A Blister That Has Not Popped

Try not to pop or drain it.

  • Leave it uncovered unless it is an OH&S issue, then cover it loosely in sterile gauze and tape it in place. Remove the covering when home and allow the air to circulate freely.
  • Try not to put pressure on the area.
  • If the blister is in a pressure area such as the bottom of the foot, put a doughnut-shaped gauze ring over it to avoid direct pressure on the blister when you walk on it.

For A Blister That Has Popped

  • Wash the area with warm water and pat dry
  • Do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. 
  • Smooth down the skin flap that remains
  • Apply antibiotic ointment or a mild betadine solution to sterilise the area.
  • Cover the area loosely with a sterile bandage or gauze.

When To Drain An Infected Blister

While it is best not to drain blisters, there is always going to be an exception to the general rule and should you need to drain a blister that is infected, painful, or in an awkward spot, there is the right way and the wrong way. This is the right way:

  • Wash the area using clean water or hand sanitiser, then dry completely.
  • Sterilise a needle or a splinter removal tool with a disinfectant solution. Bleach and medical-grade alcohol are both good choices.
  • Pierce a small hole at the edge of the blister closest to the skin.
  • Gently squeeze out the fluid.
  • Wash the blister again and pat dry.
  • Don’t remove the skin over the blister.
  • Smooth down the skin flap.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment.
  • Cover the area loosely with a sterile bandage or gauze.

Aftercare For Blisters

  • Change the dressing cover daily or if it gets wet or dirty.
  • Avoid wearing shoes or doing the activity that caused the blister until it heals.
  • Wear thick socks or work gloves for blisters on the feet or hands.
  • See a doctor for signs of infection, including pus, fever, red or warm skin around the blister, red streaks leading away from the blister, swollen lymph glands, increased pain or swelling, or if your last tetanus shot was more than ten (10) years ago.

First Aid Course Experts

Does the thought of stumbling across someone in need of First Aid scare the pants off you? FACE is here to help! FACE is a nationally recognised and Australia-wide RTO providing a wide range of First Aid courses delivered in several mediums. Visit our website today and discover a new world that removes the fear of providing First Aid and gives you the certification and skills to handle any emergency situation.

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