Wait, Should you pop a blister? For Real?
Our body has many different ways to heal itself when injured or infected. One reaction our body may have against an injury or infection is the forming of a blister or a cluster of blisters. Depending upon the type of blister that has formed, your skin can become irritated and in some cases, you might experience some pain. When the pain sets in is when many people wonder if they should pop a blister.
Common questions asked include:
- Should you pop burn blisters?
- Should you pop blood blisters?
- Should you pop a fever blister?
Let’s take a look at some of the answers to those questions.
What causes blisters?
A blister is formed when a watery liquid known as serum builds up under the skin’s surface. This usually occurs when an area of the skin’s surface is injured or infested. These can occur from continually rubbing of the surface or caused by an infection. The serum in the blister is what provides protection for the skin beneath it and helps heal it.
Here are some of the leading causes of blisters:
- Allergies – Allergic reactions can be caused when the skin comes in contact with a variety of different components, such as chemicals or poison. Common causes of blisters due to allergies include reactions from poison ivy, poison sumac and/or poison oak.
- Infections – Different infections, including those caused by staph bacteria, chickenpox, shingles, viral infections and coxsackievirus, can cause blisters to develop on the surface of the skin.
- Irritation – This occurs when physical factors which irritate the skin’s surface. Common examples of blisters caused by irritation include friction, irritating chemicals or extreme temperatures.
- Medications – Some side effects of medications have been known to include mild blistering and skin reactions.
- Skin diseases – Various skin conditions, including dermatitis and herpetiformis can cause blisters to form on the skin.
How long a blister will be there depends greatly upon the cause of it. For most blisters, they will generally clear up on their own in just few days. However, those triggered by an infection or other skin disease can stick around for a few weeks to a month.
Types of blisters
There are many different types of blisters. Each one is categorized by what caused the blister to form. The different types of blisters include:
- Burn blisters: Blisters commonly form when the skin suffers from second-degree burns.
- Blood blisters: Form when blood pools under the surface of the skin and generally form when the capillaries or blood vessels under the surface of the skin have broken. This type of blister is generally caused from an injury.
- Cluster blisters: Occurs when a small group of blisters form together, primarily due to an infection.
- Fever blisters: Generally form after an infection or high fever and are often accompanied by cold sores.
- Epidermal blisters: Form on the outer layer of the body’s skin.
- Sunburn blisters: Form on the surface of the skin after the body experiences a bad sunburn.
- Water blisters: Form when pockets of clear liquid form under the skin’s surface and generally form from irritation or rubbing of the skin.
Treatment for blisters
For most blisters, especially those caused by friction or minor burns, can be taken care of in the comfort of your own home. New skin should quickly form underneath the blistered area and the fluid will be absorbed by the body. The Mayo Clinic recommends not to pop the blister in order to protect the new layer of skin and help the blister completely heal.
Keep the area where the blister is at clean and cover it with a bandage. Use mild soap and water to clean the surface of the skin affected by the blister. Should you pop blisters? Only if the blister is too large or painful. Look below for tips and advice on draining a blister properly.
Some blisters caused by infections can be treated with a corticosteroid cream or prescription medications. There are over-the-counter medications available to help with itching. If you are experiencing an itching sensation associated with the blister, pick up some anti-itch lotions, such as calamine, to relieve your symptoms.
If the blister gets too painful and it becomes difficult to use your hands or walk, you might want to consider seeking medical attention for it.
Should you pop a blister?
Many ask the question: “Should you pop a blister?” or “ Should you pop a blister from a burn ?” For the most part, you should not pop or puncture a blister unless you are experiencing pain, it become irritated or is very large. Why? Because the fluid that builds up underneath the top layer of skin is what helps prevent infections and help promote healing.
For the most part, physicians, including those at the NHS, are against popping of blisters, including fever blisters. It is recommended to let the blister heal itself and it will eventually relieve itself of the liquid inside on its own. When it does happen naturally, you need to cover it with a fresh bandage and apply antibiotic ointment to prevent any infections from developing.
Should you pop a burn blister? The answer is no. According to Contra Costa Health Services it is best to leave burn blisters alone. The burn blister should remain intact in order to protect the damaged skin and help the burn heal properly. If it does burst on its own, it is important to keep the burned area covered with dry clean cloth-like bandages. It may also be necessary to continually change out dressings to keep the burn free from infection.
Should you pop a blood blister? Blood blisters should be left to heal naturally. If it bursts on its own, keep the area clean and cover it with a bandage. If you are experiencing pain associated with a blood blister, it might be necessary to apply an ice pack to help relieve the pain.
Should you pop poison ivy blisters? Just like with any other type of blister, those formed from exposure to poison ivy should be allowed to heal on their own. Contrary to popular belief, Kids Med says that popping the blisters do not cause the poison ivy blisters to spread, it just exposes the skin, which could lead to an infection and a delay in healing time.
How to pop a blister
If you need to pop a blister it is important to do it properly to ensure that you do not infect the area. Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic to help you properly pop a blister:
- Use a sterilized needle
- Wash your hands thoroughly and wash the area
- Make a small hole in the blister
- Gently apply pressure to the sides and squeeze out the clear fluid
- Do not remove the skin that is over the blister
- Cover the blister with antibiotic ointment or cream
- Change bandages regular to help prevent infection
- Watch for signs up infection, including pus, red or warm skin around the blister and red streaks spidering out from the blister
If the fluid in the blister is white or yellow, it might already be infected. You may need to see your physician for medical assistance and treatment for the infection.
Blisters generally develop when there is a repeated rubbing of the skin against another surface. Many develop blisters on their feel and heels from the shoes they wear. Let’s take a look at some ways to prevent blisters from developing in the first place.
- Always wear work gloves when doing manual work with your hands
- Break in your new shoes gradually
- Wear adhesive bandages on areas where you feel your shoes rubbing
- Wear shoes that fit properly
- Wear breathable socks
- Double up on your socks
- Use powders and/or creams to prevent friction when walking
- Wear sunscreen
- Avoid allergy triggers
- Wear gloves when dealing with chemicals
- Wash your hands often
All in all, it is best to leave blisters alone to heal. Thus, it is best to not pop the blisters, mostly because this could lead to an infection and you might hinder the healing process. If you cover the blister up with a bandage, it will be out of sight out of mind and you might be less likely to want to pop it.