To pop or not to pop? When it comes to blisters, that is the question.
Blisters are fluid-filled bumps that resemble bubbles on the skin. Blisters are typically caused by friction or exposure to extreme hot and cold temperatures. They also can form as a result of contact dermatitis, allergic reactions to insect bites and stings, and medical conditions, such as chickenpox and herpes.
Doctors usually recommend leaving small blisters alone; however, if the blister is large and uncomfortable, it may need to be drained. If you decide to pop a large blister, clean the area with rubbing alcohol and use a sterilized needle to poke a hole. After you puncture the sac, gently squeeze the fluid out while still leaving the skin over the blister intact. The skin will serve as a natural bandage to keep the raw area covered and prevent a potential infection.
Once the blister is empty of fluid, applying a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory cream can help soothe the itching and promote healing. In addition, dabbing the area with mouthwash has a cooling effect and can help dry out the blister.
"The caveat I have to make here is that I have seen people opening up their own blisters and coming in with big-time infections," ER physician Dr. Travis says. "So, it's one of those things that, if you're going to do this on your own, I have to caution you to make sure it's absolutely sterile, because you're basically opening up an entry for bacteria to get into that blister."
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