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How to Care for a Blister

Stop! Don't pop that blister on your hand or foot! Care for it the right way with these tips.


  • Step 1: Keep blister intact Keep a blister that isn't too painful intact -- even a blood blister. The skin serves as a natural barrier to bacteria and infection. Cover a small blister with a bandage and a large blister with a plastic-coated gauze pad.
  • TIP: A small blister is one that is less than 1 inch across.
  • Step 2: Drain, clean Carefully drain a painful blister or one that impedes movement by first washing your hands and the blister with soap and water. Then clean the blister with rubbing alcohol or iodine.
  • TIP: Consult a physician before draining a blister if you have diabetes or poor circulation.
  • Step 3: Puncture Wipe a clean, sharp needle with rubbing alcohol to sterilize it and puncture the blister in a few spots near its edge. Allow the fluid to drain, leaving the skin on top in place.
  • Step 4: Cover Cover the blistered area with antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage or gauze pad.
  • Step 5: Cut dead skin, re-cover Use sterilized tweezers and nail scissors to cut away any dead skin after a few days. Reapply the ointment and cover it with a fresh bandage.
  • Step 6: Practice prevention Prevent future blisters by covering any areas being rubbed. Wear gloves to protect your hands and consider special, padded athletic socks or attaching moleskin to the insides of shoes to prevent foot blisters. Wear sunblock to prevent blisters from sunburn.
  • FACT: A small, fluid-filled blister that is less than 2/10 of an inch in diameter is called a vesicle.

You Will Need

  • Bandage or gauze pad
  • Soap and water
  • Rubbing alcohol or iodine
  • Clean
  • sharp needle
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Tweezers
  • Nail scissors
  • Gloves
  • Athletic socks
  • Sunblock
  • Physician (optional)

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