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Blister is a collection of fluid underneath the top layer of skin (epidermis). One that is more than 5 mm in diameter with thin walls and is full of watery fluid is called a bulla or a bleb. There are many causes of blisters including burns, vesicant agents, friction forces, and diseases of the skin.A blister or bulla is a defense mechanism of the human body. When the outer (epidermis) layer of the skin separates from the fibre layer (dermis), a pool of lymph and other bodily fluids collect between these layers while the skin re-grows from underneath.
There are a number of types of blisters, including:
*Blood blister — a blister full of blood due to a pinch, bruise or repeated friction.It is associated with sub-dermal bleeding it will partially fill with blood, forming a blood blister.
*Water blister –– a blister with clear watery contents that is not purulent (does not contain pus) and is not sanguineous (does not contain blood).
*Fever blister — a blister in the mouth or around it that causes pain, burning, or itching before bursting and crusting over. It is due to the herpes simplex virus which is latent (dormant in the body) and can be reawakened (reactivated) by such factors as stress, sunburn, or fever. Hence, it called a fever blister or a cold sore.
A fever blister located on the lips, mouth, and face is usually caused by the highly contagious herpes simplex type 1 virus. Only a small percentage are caused by herpes simplex type 2 (the type usually associated with genital lesions). While there is no cure, there are medications that will relieve the pain and itch and speed the healing of the blister.
The word “blister” entered English in the 14th century. It came from the Middle Dutch “bluyster”, blister and was a modification of the Old French “blostre” which meant a leprous nodule — a rise in the skin due to leprosy.
If you burn yourself, the first thing to do is determine how severe the burn is. If you experience blistering when you have been burned, which usually occurs several minutes after the burn has occurred, you have most likely suffered a second-degree burn, which is considered to be a minor burn. You can treat a minor burn at home, but see a doctor if you have trouble breathing or see black or white charring on your body due to the burn.
How to tacle Burn Blister:
1.Cool the burn blisters. The burn can be cooled by running cool water over the afflicted area for approximately five minutes. Continue running water over the burn until the pain decreases.
2.Place a cold compress on the burn blisters. If you are still experiencing pain from the burn, or cool water is not readily available, place a paper towel over your burn and put a cold compress on top. Do not treat the burn directly with ice, as it can further damage the very sensitive burned skin.
3.Wrap the afflicted area in a sterile gauze bandage. The bandage will keep the burn from getting infected and keep dirt out of the area. Gently wrap the sterile gauze around the area and hold in place with medical tape.
4.Take ibuprofen. Most likely, you will still feel some pain and pressure from the burn blisters, so take ibuprofen as directed until the pain subsides.
5.See a doctor. If you are still suffering from pain due to your second-degree burns after two weeks, see a doctor for additional treatment, including prescription salves and creams to soothe the burn.
Blisters can be caused by chemical or physical injury. An example of chemical injury would be an allergic reaction. Physical injury can be caused by heat, frostbite, or friction.
Blisters typically develop when there is friction and irritation to the surface layer of the skin that cause it to separate from the second layer. Fluid fills in the space between these two layers. Blisters most often appear on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. The hands and feet often rub against shoes, socks, or sports and music equipment and create friction under moist, warm conditions perfect for blisters.
Blisters are also linked to various STDs, especially if it occurs around the oral organs and genitals.
Certain autoimmune diseases feature extensive blistering as one of their symptoms. These include pemphigus and pemphigoid. Blistering also occurs as part of foodborne illness with Vibrio vulnificus (seafood).
The class of chemical weapons known as vesicants acts by causing blisters (often within the respiratory tract). Mustard gas and lewisite are examples of such agents.
Unless infection occurs, blisters usually heal quickly without much additional treatment. If a blister is punctured, it forms an open wound, which should be disinfected and bandaged. Loose bandaging should be used since a bandage that is too tight can result in rupture or rubbing against the blister, causing discomfort. If the blister is broken, the excess skin should not be removed (unless it is dirty or torn). Removing the excess skin often makes the wound heal any infection quickly – if immediately disinfected. Signs of infection include pus draining from the blister, very red or warm skin around the blister, and red streaks leading away from the blister.
you get a blister, the goal is to keep the blister from getting bigger and avoiding infection. (Signs of infection include pus draining from the blister, very red or warm skin around the blister, and red streaks leading away from the blister). Small unbroken blisters that don’t cause discomfort can be left alone to heal, because the best protection against infection is a blister’s own skin. Large, painful blisters can be drained but don’t remove the top layer of skin. First clean the blister with rubbing alcohol or antibiotic soap and water. Then sterilize a needle over a flame until the tip glows red; allow it to cool, and the puncture a small hole at the edge of the blister. Drain the fluid by applying gentle pressure. Put a bit of antibiotic ointment on the blister and cover with a bandage.
Blisters should be handled in the following way to get the quick healing:
Clean the skin around the blister.
Place a doughnut-shaped piece of moleskin over the blister. This will keep pressure off it.
Try to avoid popping the blister unless it’s in an especially awkward place, such as the bottom of your foot. The blister provides a sterile environment for the skin underneath. Breaking it makes the area more susceptible to infection.
If you need to pop the blister, use sterile implements, puncture it in a few places at its base and drain the fluid.
If you need to puncture it or if it breaks on its own, clean the area with soap and water or Betadine.
Avoid peeling any skin off the blister; this can lead to an infection and delay healing.
Cover the exposed blister with a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and dry sterile gauze.
Change the gauze regularly and watch for signs of infection, such as pus or redness.
*Small unbroken blisters that do not cause discomfort can be left alone to heal, because the best protection against infection is a blister’s own skin.
*Aloe vera can be effective on many skin conditions, especially burns. Try rubbing pure aloe vera gel on the blister to see if it helps.
*If the infection from a blister doesn’t clear up quickly, your doctor may want to prescribe antibiotics.
*Band-Aid Blister bandages with Compeed can be found in the foot care section, not the bandage section, of the drug store.
*Your walking shoes should be a size to a size and a half larger than your dress shoes.
*BodyGlide, Runners Lube and similar products can be found in running shoe and gear stores.
To prevent blisters, the goal is to minimize friction. Appropriate footwear, and socks will help reduce blisters.
Minimizing friction is the primary method of preventing blisters. Appropriate footwear, socks, and gloves for work involving frequent hand use will help reduce blisters.
Ensuring that shoes are the right size and shape, and that socks are made from a synthetic blend is an effective way of reducing the occurrence of blisters. Other effective ways to reduce blisters is to apply petroleum jelly or talcum powder before exercising to reduce friction.
Before walking, use a lubricant on all areas that generally blister. Some people use petroleum jelly or bag balm or talcum. For long walks, using large amounts of petroleum jelly reapplied every 10 miles solved my own blister problems. SportSlick, BodyGlide, runners’ lube or other anti-chafing lubricants can also work to prevent foot blisters when applied before the walk. One walker recommended that every night for a month before a big walking event massage both feet with pure lanolin (wool fat). It’s better than Vaseline as it doesn’t create heat when friction occurs. It’s also a good barrier for water in case in rains.
Experiment with socks, try different brands. Be sure to launder the socks at least once before wearing them to wash out the sizing. Podiatrists recommend not using cotton socks as they retain moisture, which then softens the skin, weakening it and making it easier to tear and form blisters. Instead, CoolMax fabric wicks away the moisture so it is not on the skin to weaken it. Look for socks with modern synthetic fabrics formulated for walking and running. Many recommend two layers of socks – a thin inner pair of wicking fabric such as polypropylene or CoolMax, and a padded outer pair. Tube socks should be avoided since they do not fit well over the heel and ankle. Change socks during the walk, especially if they get sweaty. Some marathoners also change shoes during the event.
Compeed | Band-Aid Blister Block | Dr. Scholls Cushlin Blister Pads :
These products have a sterile gel pack that pads and protects, available at drug stores and outdoor stores. You can use Compeed to prevent blisters and to protect the skin if you get a blister. Band-Aid now has Blister Block cushions that have Compeed, and Dr. Scholls has Cushlin blister pads. These are self-adhesive and stick mightily to the skin – and can stay there for days if needed. They come in two sizes – small cushions for toes, and regular cushions for the heels and balls of the feet. These pads act as an extra layer of skin. I applied these pads to my heels when wearing a new pair of boots on a 10K hike, and over blisters that had already formed on my big toe. The result was no new blisters, and my existing blisters were protected with no discomfort throughout the walk. It is best to use these to prevent blister formation on areas you know are prone to blister, but they can also be walk-savers to apply as soon as blisters develop. Shopping hint – don’t look for these in the bandage aisle, but in the footcare section.
Moleskin or sports tape:
Best used AFTER you have the blister or to catch a blister that is forming despite the other methods. Stop as soon as you feel a hot spot and put on the moleskin or sports tape. Some walkers wrap each toe and then also wrap the most blister-prone toes with lambswool.
Shoe fit :
Your walking shoes should not be too snug, a tight shoe will contribute to blisters. But they also have to fit well or a too-loose fit can also contribute to blister formation. To choose shoes of the right size, go shoe shopping right after a long walk when your feet are swollen to their largest. When standing in the new shoe, there should be 1/2 inch from the big toe to the end of the toe box and you should be able to wiggle all of your toes comfortably. Then test drive your shoes in the store, going at your fastest pace (don’t worry about looking silly, your comfort depends on this!) Your shoes should not slip when you walk in them.
Toughen your skin :
Apply tincture of benzoin to sensitive areas (check with your local pharmacy) or simply soak your feet in strongly brewed tea (tannic acid).
*Buy shoes with adequate room in the toe box and good fit in the heel.
*Wear wicking socks of CoolMax or polypropylene.
*Coat areas of foot prone to blister with a blister/chafing prevention agent such as BodyGlide, Runners Lube, petroleum jelly.
*For areas already raw or very prone to blister, cover with a bandage containing Compeed or with moleskin.
*Stop whenever you feel a hot spot developing and cover the area with moleskin, sport tape, or a Compeed Band-Aid.