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How Do I Choose the Best Treatment for Blisters?

A man with poison ivy blisters on his hand.
Viral skin infections may cause blood blisters.
Over the counter medications may be useful in reducing the amount of time a cold sore lasts.
A water blister caused by friction.
Many runners get blood blisters on their toes and feet.
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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2014
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You can choose the best treatment for blisters by first determining the severity of the blister. Severe blisters should typically be dealt with differently than small, minor blisters. The best treatment for blisters will also likely depend on what type of blister you have and where it is located on your body. People can get blood blisters and fever blisters in addition to skin blisters. If a blister is on your fingers or your foot, it will probably require different care than a blister on some other part of your body.

Small skin blisters that fill up with clear fluid are typically best left to heal on their own. Opening the blister up will increase your risk of infection and may be unnecessary because in time it will drain on its own and go away. A more painful blister might require manual draining. If you decide to do this, you need to make sure your hands and the area of the blister are completely disinfected. You can make a very small hole in the top of the blister with a sterilized needle and drain the fluid out. After you are done, disinfect the area again and cover it with a bandage.

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If you want to choose the best treatment for blisters, you need to understand what kind of blister you have. Blood blisters look just like skin blisters with the exception that they are filled with blood rather than clear fluid. It is typically considered best to let blood blisters heal on their own without popping or draining them. You can apply ice to the affected area to help keep it from swelling and to stop the bleeding. If it pops on its own, disinfect the area thoroughly and place a bandage over it to prevent infection.

Fever blisters are very different from the types of blisters you get after being injured. Some people refer to fever blisters as cold sores, and they are caused by the type 1 herpes virus. There is probably very little you can do to treat these blisters, and picking at them or popping them might make them worse instead of better. You can purchase over-the-counter remedies at your local drug store that may help to make them disappear faster, but it won't happen instantly. Spicy foods and chocolate might also aggravate your fever blister, so it is probably best to avoid these foods until it goes away.

Another thing to think about when you are considering the best treatment for blisters is the location of the blister. It is usually advised to leave smaller blisters alone and let them heal by themselves, but care should be taken not to make them worse. For instance, if you have a blister on your foot, it is possible that the shoes you wear might rub against it and cause it to pop open. Until the foot blister heals, you might want to wear a pair of shoes that won't irritate the blister or put a band-aid over the top of the blister to protect it from the friction. It may also be a good idea to do this if you have a blister on the finger of your dominant hand to help keep it from getting irritated and popping when you don't want it to.

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