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Blisters

Blisters should heal on their own within a week. They can be painful while they heal, but you shouldn't need to see a GP.

How you can treat a blister yourself

To relieve any pain, use an ice pack (or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel) on the blister for up to 30 minutes.

To protect the blister and help prevent infection:

Do

  • cover blisters that are likely to burst with a soft plaster or dressing
  • wash your hands before touching a burst blister
  • allow the fluid in a burst blister to drain before covering it with a plaster or dressing

Don't

  • do not burst a blister yourself
  • do not peel the skin off a burst blister
  • do not pick at the edges of the remaining skin
  • do not wear the shoes or use the equipment that caused your blister until it heals

A pharmacist can help with blisters

To protect your blister from becoming infected, a pharmacist can recommend a plaster or dressing to cover it while it heals.

A hydrocolloid dressing can help reduce pain and speed up healing.

Check if you have a blister

Blisters are small pockets of clear fluid under a layer of skin.

Blood blisters are red or black and filled with blood instead of clear fluid.

If the blister is infected it can be red, hot and filled with green or yellow pus.

Important

Don't ignore an infected blister. Without treatment it could lead to a skin or blood infection.

Non-urgent advice:

See a GP if:

  • a blister is very painful or keeps coming back
  • the skin looks infected – it's red, hot and the blister is filled with green or yellow pus
  • a blister is in an unusual place – such as your eyelids, mouth or genitals
  • several blisters have appeared for no reason
  • a blister was caused by a burn or scald, sunburn, or an allergic reaction

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