Top of the pageCheck Your Symptoms
Blisters are fluid-filled bumps that look like bubbles on the skin. You may get a blister on your foot when you wear shoes that rub against your skin. Or you may get one on your hand when you work in the garden without wearing gloves. Home treatment is often all that's needed for this type of blister.
Other types of injuries to the skin can cause a blister. They include:
Infection can cause either a single blister or clusters of blisters.
Other causes of blisters include:
Blisters may also be caused by medicines.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Symptoms of infection may include:
Symptoms of serious illness may include:
Symptoms of serious illness in a baby may include the following:
Usually found in dirt and soil, tetanus bacteria typically enter the body through a wound. Wounds may include a bite, a cut, a puncture, a burn, a scrape, insect bites, or any injury that may cause broken skin. Tetanus can also happen with other infections, like dental infections. It can happen during a surgery or pregnancy and delivery.
A wound can be so small, you may not notice you have one. Or a skin blister could break and become an open wound. If there is any delay in finding or cleaning a wound, there is an increased risk for skin infection and a chance for tetanus to get in the wound. A tetanus infection can start 3 to 21 days after the bacteria enter the wound. Be especially careful about wounds on your fingers and toes.
Many people may not know when they got their last tetanus shot. So it's a good idea to call your doctor to see if you need one.
Make sure to stay up to date on your tetanus shots. A tetanus shot is recommended:
Pain in adults and older children
Pain in children under 3 years
It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.
Many prescription and non-prescription medicines, including some that you put directly on the skin, may cause blisters. A few examples are:
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.
Most blisters heal on their own. Home treatment may help decrease pain, prevent infection, and help heal large or broken blisters.
A small, unbroken blister about the size of a pea, even a blood blister, will usually heal on its own. Use a loose bandage to protect it. Avoid the activity that caused the blister.
If a small blister is on a weight-bearing area like the bottom of the foot, protect it with a doughnut-shaped moleskin pad. Leave the area over the blister open.
It's best not to drain a blister at home. But if a blister is large and very painful, or it's in a spot where it can't avoid getting popped, you may need to drain it. If you do decide to drain your blister, be sure to follow these steps:
Don't drain a blister of any size if:
If a blister has torn open, or after you have drained a blister:
Watch for a skin infection while your blister heals. Signs of infection include:
Call a doctor if any of the following occur during self-care at home:
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared for your appointment.
Current as of: March 22, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: March 22, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.