Blisters, aside from being unsightly, can be painful. They are very common and typically are easy to treat. Most people have had a blister at one time or another. Blisters commonly form on the feet or hands and are usually the result of rubbing or pressure concentrated to a specific area, like upon wearing a new pair of shoes for the day. Blisters may also be the result of a virus or other skin condition.
Blisters are elevated bumps upon the skin that are filled with a liquid substance. The clear fluid inside the blister is known as serum. The serum starts to collect inside the raised skin as a result of the surrounding tissue excreting liquid in response to the skin being irritated or wounded. The serum is used as a protective cushion to prevent the skin from additional rubbing or friction.
Typically, blisters appear as oval or round fluid-filled bubbles that develop on the skin. Blisters do not always cause symptoms, but individuals may get a warning that a blister is about to develop by noticing a warm or red spot on the area of the skin that has received the irritation or pressure. Symptoms that are associated with blisters are generally dependent on the underlying cause of the blister. Common symptoms of blisters include:
The majority of blisters that develop are caused by friction or pressure on the skin due to excessive, repeated rubbing. There are many other causes for the development of blisters including:
There are certain behaviors which may increase your chances of developing the common blister. Risk factors associated with the development of blisters include:
Typically, it is best to simply leave the blister alone. In time, the blister will usually heal itself. The liquid-filled bubble that is a blister acts as a protective barrier for the skin beneath it; therefore popping a blister may put you at risk for developing an infection. When allowing a blister to heal on its own, the following tips may be helpful:
Generally, it is not recommended to break a blister unless it is causing you great pain or inhibiting your ability to walk or use your hands. If you are a diabetic or have circulation problems, do not attempt to treat your blisters at home without consulting a doctor first. To relieve pain associated with a blister without destroying the protective layer, you will need to drain the fluid. Some simple precautions to take when draining a blister include:
If you have a blister and intend to break it open, don’t do so if you have diabetes. Contact your doctor if your blister shows any signs of infection such as pus, redness, and hot skin around the area, or an increase in the pain associated with the blister.
Blisters are common and many people have are susceptible to developing them. The most common way to get a blister is from repeated rubbing or friction applied to a specific area. The most common place to get a blister is on the hands and feet. Blisters can develop in other areas and can be the result of many causes, such as infection, or skin disease. Most blisters require no treatment and will heal on their own.