Most people have had a blister at some point, whether on your hand from manual labor or your foot after breaking in a new pair of shoes. But do you really know what they are? Blisters are actually small bumps, which appear like bubbles on your skin, and are filled with fluid. A variety of things can lead to getting a blister, but most commonly it is from some type of friction on an area of skin that is not used to that friction. There are ways to treat blisters at home that won’t leave a scar and relieve the discomfort a blister can cause.

Common Causes of Blisters

Blisters are the result of a variety of situations. The first is from friction, such as a new pair of shoes rubbing against your foot for an extended period of time. Another way to get a blister is by being exposed to heat, radiation, electricity or chemicals; this will cause a burn on your skin that ultimately leads to a blister. You can also get a blister from extremely cold and freezing temperature. Some spider and bug bites may also lead to a blister, such as being bitten by a brown recluse spider. This blister is associated with some pain and itching. You can also get a blood blister from skin pinching in one spot, such as if your finger gets caught in a car door or a dresser drawer.

Medical Conditions

There are also some medical conditions that might lead to your skin blistering. If you get Chickenpox, shingles, cold sores, impetigo (bacterial skin infection), scabies or have bedbugs you can get small blisters on your body. Inflammation from other medical conditions might also cause small skin blisters. Dermatitis, poison ivy and poison oak tend to cause blistering of the skin. Some ointments for the skin can actually cause blisters as well; these are usually accompanied by red and itchy skin.

Treating Blisters

Some blisters you can easily treat at home while others need medical attention. If your blister is less than 1-inch in diameter and is unbroken, it can be treated at home. Never break or “pop” a blister; it will heal much faster if you leave it alone. If it is in an area where something might rub against it, keep it well covered with a loose bandage. Keep the blister clean by not touching it or rubbing it with dirty hands. It can get infected and become worse. If the blister breaks on its own, let it drain and gently wash the area with soap and water. Pat it dry very gently and cover with clean gauze. Use antibiotic ointment on the blister once it breaks, unless it causes itching of the skin underneath.

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