How do I treat a blister?

Blisters should be protected to prevent further damage or infection. A blister should not be popped because it can result in the area becoming infected. The skin should be kept intact and allowed to heal naturally if at all possible. The area around the blister must be kept clean by washing the hands with warm water and soap. Padding, such as a donut pad, can then be added to protect the blister by taking pressure off of it.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Indiana University Athletic Training Education Program)

Shirley A. Jones, RN
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Treatment of a blister focuses on preventing infection and soothing the painful, red, irritated skin that has fluid trapped under it. Blisters are commonly found on the feet due to ill-fitting shoes or can be caused by an irritation on the hands when gloves are not used while shoveling, gardening, raking leaves, or doing other chores.
Even though you might be tempted to "break" a blister, it is best to keep pressure off it by making a donut-shaped cover. Use the following steps:
1. Gently clean the blister with soap and water. 
2. Cut a hole in a piece of moleskin.
3. Place the moleskin over the blister leaving ample room around it.
4. Cover with a clean bandage.
If you "must" drain a blister, make sure you wash the area with soap and water, use a clean needle to make a tiny hole in the side of the blister, press out the fluid, apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection, and cover with a bandage.
Remember, prevention is the key to avoiding blisters. Break in shoes and boots before long walks or hiking on rugged trails, use blister prevention pads, and wear gloves when working with tools and other equipment.
First Aid, Survival, and CPR: Home and Field Pocket Guide

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First Aid, Survival, and CPR: Home and Field Pocket Guide

Be prepared for first aid care and survival in any setting-at home, on the road, outdoors, while boating, hiking, or camping. From performing CPR on an adult, child, or infant to dealing with bleeding and shock, cuts and broken bones, heart attacks, emergency childbirth, poisoning, drowning, scuba diving mishaps, wilderness survival, and natural disasters such as tornadoes, wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. This portable, waterproof guide helps you quickly find the information you need to develop a plan of action for assessing and treating all kinds of first aid and survival emergencies. A special feature includes pet safety describing how to assemble a pet first aid kit, performing CPR on a dog and cat, and keeping pets safe during natural disasters. Keep a copy in your home, car, boat, camper, or backpack and be "ready" when emergencies occur.

Cover the blister with moleskin, a bandage or gauze. A blister protects your broken skin from irritants and bacteria. Do not pop a blister unless absolutely necessary. You may drain the fluid from the blister with a sterilized needle, then apply an antibiotic ointment to the blister and cover with a bandage or gauze.

Continue Learning about Blisters

Blisters

Blisters

A blister is a patch of raised skin that contains watery liquid. Blisters may form when your skin rubs against something repeatedly. For instance, if your shoes are tight, stiff, or too small, the skin on your feet can develop bli...

sters as it rubs against the inner part of the shoes when you walk. Don't pop a skin blister. Instead, cover it with a bandage and let the skin heal naturally.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.