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First Aid for Blisters

Last updated March 5, 2018

Quinn Dombrowski

Blisters are raised, fluid-filled sacs of skin. Damaged superficial skin layer dies and detaches from the lower (inner) skin layers. Frequently, fluid fills the space in between the lower layers and the detached layer.


What is Blisters?

  • Blisters are raised, fluid-filled sacs of skin. Damaged superficial skin layer dies and detaches from the lower (inner) skin layers. Frequently, fluid fills the space in between the lower layers and the detached layer
  • In most cases, the condition can be resolved through adequate treatment. However, it is important to evaluate the cause of Blister formation, as it may affect the prognosis

What are the Causes of Blisters?

The common causes of Blisters include:

  • Friction
  • Heat
  • Electricity
  • Chemicals
  • Exposure to freezing temperatures
  • Infections
  • Contact allergens, like poison ivy
  • Sunburns

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Blisters?

The signs and symptoms of Blisters include:

  • Raised area of skin with clear fluids
  • Skin discoloration
  • Pain

How is First Aid administered for Blisters?

First Aid administration for Blisters depends on the symptoms:

  • If the Blister is neither painful nor interfering with your daily activities, try to leave the skin intact; wear protective bandage until it drains and resolves
  • If it is too painful or if it affects your daily/normal routine, you can choose to seek medical attention or try to drain it (on your own)
  • If you choose to drain it, you must understand that there is a risk of infection
  • Before you drain the Blister, clean it by washing it with soap and warm water.
  • Then, after rubbing alcohol or iodine; drain the fluid by using a sterilized needle, while keeping the skin intact
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to the blister and bandage to cover the wound
  • After the wound skin has dried, you may cut away the dead skin with a pair of sterilized scissors
  • Continue applying antibiotic ointment, until it has completely healed

Who should administer First Aid for Blisters?

First Aid can be administered by the person himself/herself, or someone in close proximity to the person.

What is the Prognosis of Blisters?

The prognosis is excellent.  The dead skin usually grows back without incident, as long as First Aid is applied and wound closely monitored for development of infections.

How can Blisters be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Blisters:

  • Wear shoes and clothing that fit properly
  • Take precautions during extremely hot and cold weather, to avoid sunburns and freezing
  • Wear bandages or patches of fabric over frequently blistered spots, to reduce friction. Petroleum jelly can also reduce friction
  • Exercise caution and protect yourself adequately while handling chemicals, working with electricity, working in the woods, etc.

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

Seek immediate medical attention, if any signs of infection are noticed. These include redness, swelling, pain, fever, and pus-like drainage from the site of injury.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 28, 2013
Last updated: March 5, 2018

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