A blister is an irritation of the skin caused by a minor burn or friction (repeated rubbing) such as from a shoe or tool handle.

Signs of a Blister

  • Watery fluid under a raised part of the skin.
  • Sometimes there is a red ring around it.
  • Is usually painful when touched or rubbed.

Care you can do at home

Blisters and the new skin under  the blistered skin can be protected by using a clean bandage (band-aid) to reduce pain and keep anything from rubbing off the blistered skin or against the new skin. Always wash your hands before caring for the blister to help prevent infection.

If the blister is small and closed, don’t pop the blister. Instead, let the fluid inside the blister absorb into the skin. Keep the area around the blister clean by washing with soap and water every day. You can clean the area by lightly rubbing with soap and water on your hands—a cloth may be too irritating. After drying the area, expose the blister to the air while it heals. Do not apply alcohol or iodine.

If the blister is on a place on the body where it will break, a clean needle (clean with rubbing alcohol) can be inserted into the edge of the blister, and then press the fluid in the blister toward the hole to let the fluid out. Cover the broken blister with the bandage—don’t pull off the blistered skin.

Whether you drain the fluid or not, let the skin cover the blister to protect the new skin underneath while it heals. Be sure to keep the blister clean.

The blister should heal without problems in about 5 days as long as you protect it from further injury or rubbing. If the blister was caused by friction, such as shoes, change the shoes so the blistered area doesn’t keep getting rubbed.

Blisters can be prevented by wearing shoes that fit or wearing gloves to protect the hands.

When to call the pediatrician

  • If the blister has pus (the fluid inside the blister is no longer clear).
  • There is increased pain, swelling or redness around the blister area.
  • If the blister has not healed in 7 days.
  • You see red streaks on the skin that start at the blister.
  • Your child has a fever with no other reason.