Blister Care

Overview

Most blisters heal on their own. Home treatment may help decrease pain, prevent infection, and help heal large or broken blisters.

  • Bandage small blisters.

    A small, unbroken blister about the size of a pea, even a blood blister, will usually heal on its own. Use a loose bandage to protect it. Avoid the activity that caused the blister.

    If a small blister is on a weight-bearing area like the bottom of the foot, protect it with a doughnut-shaped moleskin pad. Leave the area over the blister open.

  • Don't drain a blister unless you really need to.

    It's best not to drain a blister at home. But when blisters are painful, some people do drain them. If you do decide to drain your blister, be sure to follow these steps:

    • Wipe a needle with rubbing alcohol.
    • Gently puncture the edge of the blister.
    • Press the fluid in the blister toward the hole so it can drain out.

    Don't drain a blister of any size if:

    • You have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease. Draining a blister increases your risk of infection.
    • You think your blister is from a contagious disease, such as chickenpox. If you drain that type of blister, the virus can spread to another person.
  • Clean and cover a torn or drained blister.

    If a blister has torn open, or after you have drained a blister:

    • Gently wash the area with clean water. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. They can slow healing.
    • Don't remove the flap of skin over a blister unless it's very dirty or torn or there is pus under it. Gently smooth the flap over the tender skin.
    • You may cover the blister with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
  • Watch for signs of infection.

    Watch for a skin infection while your blister heals. Signs of infection include:

    • Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth around the blister.
    • Red streaks leading from the blister.
    • Pus draining from the blister.
    • A fever.
  • Try other home remedies if you have itching.

    One way to help decrease itching is to keep the itchy area cool and wet. Apply a cloth that has been soaked in ice water. Or get in a cool tub or shower.

    You can also try a paste of baking soda mixed with water or a nonprescription lotion such as calamine lotion.

Credits

Current as of: March 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

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This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.