What is a blister?
A blister is a circular-shaped bump on the skin containing bloody or clear fluid.
What causes a blister?
Blisters are caused by injury, allergic reactions, or infections, including the following:
- Friction (ie., from a shoe)
- Contact dermatitis
- Impetigo (a contagious infection of the skin)
- Viral infections (including chickenpox and herpes zoster)
The symptoms of a blister may resemble other skin conditions or medical problems. Always consult a physician for the proper diagnosis.
What is the treatment for blisters?
Blisters often heal spontaneously. Treatment varies according to the cause. General guidelines for treatment include:
- Wash the area with soap and water
- Apply a cold or ice pack to reduce swelling and discomfort
- Keep the area clean and dry
- Do not burst or puncture the blister
- If the blister bursts, place an adhesive bandage or dressing on the area to keep it clean
- Watch the blister or burst area for signs of infection such as increased warmth, swelling, redness, drainage, pus formation, or pain.
- Call the physician if infection occurs, as antibiotics may be necessary.
The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Hospital continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.
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Sometimes a mom’s intuition is all it takes to get her child to the right physician. When 8-year-old Xavion Chisley developed a fungal infection on his toe, his mother, Nikki, immediately took him to see a dermatologist who removed his toenail to treat the infection. However, when Xavion’s toenail grew back, the infection had not diminished but actually appeared to be spreading to his foot.
Read More of Xavion's Story