A blister is a bubble of fluid under the skin that is caused by a skin reaction to irritation, injury, allergy, disease, infection or medication. The fluid inside a blister is called serum, a clear, watery liquid that leaks from surrounding tissues. If the blister is left unopened, the serum can provide natural protection for the skin beneath it. A blood blister is filled with blood, rather than clear fluid.
There are numerous causes of blisters, including:
In general, blisters are round or oval bubbles of serum under the skin that may be painful or itchy, or they may cause no symptoms. Different causes have different associated symptoms.
If the cause is not obvious (that is, there is no history of a local irritation, frostbite or burn), your doctor may ask about your family history and your personal medical history, including any allergies you have and any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications). You also may be asked about any recent exposure to irritating chemicals or allergens.
Your doctor often can diagnose the cause of your blisters simply by their appearance and your history. He will perform a complete physical examination; look at the size, shape, color and location of the blister(s); and ask you about any accompanying symptoms.
The duration of blisters varies widely depending on their cause. For example, blisters caused by irritation generally go away on their own within a few days, while those triggered by infections and skin diseases can remain for weeks or months.
There are many simple strategies to prevent blisters caused by skin irritation. You can begin by wearing comfortable shoes that fit well, together with socks that cushion the feet and absorb sweat. Also, apply sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn. Be particularly vigilant about avoiding sun exposure if you are taking medications that are known to cause sun sensitivity. During cold months, use warm mittens, hats and heavy socks to protect your skin against freezing temperatures and chilling winds.
In general, it is best to leave blisters alone. Because the blister protects the underlying skin, breaking blisters open can increase the chance of infection. Protect blisters with a bandage and cover them until they heal on their own. The blister will be re-absorbed and flatten naturally. If a blister breaks, wash the area with soap and water, then apply a bandage. If a blister is large or painful, your doctor may drain it and apply an antibacterial cream to prevent infection.
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, call today for an appointment.
FAMILY FOOT CARE CENTER
2033 Greystone Park, Jackson, TN 38305
This Page Last Modified On Wednesday December 10, 2008
This website is for informational purposes only. Information found on this website should not be considered medical advice.