What are blisters?
A blister, which is also called a vesicle by medical professionals, is a raised portion of skin that is filled with fluid. You’re probably familiar with blisters if you’ve ever worn ill-fitting shoes for too long.
This common cause of blistering produces vesicles when friction between your skin and the shoe results in layers of skin separating and filling with fluid.
Blisters are often annoying, painful, or uncomfortable. But in most cases, they aren’t a symptom of anything serious and will heal without any medical intervention. If you ever have unexplained blistering on your skin, you should see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Conditions that cause blisters, with pictures
Blisters can be caused by friction, infection, or, in rare cases, a skin condition. Here are 16 possible causes of blisters.
Warning: Graphic images ahead.
Treatment for blisters
Most blisters require no treatment. If you leave them alone, they will go away, and the top skin layers prevent will infection.
If you know the cause of your blister, you may be able to treat it by covering it with bandages to keep it protected. Eventually the fluids will seep back into the tissue, and the blister will disappear.
You shouldn’t puncture a blister unless it is very painful, as the skin over the fluid protects you from infection. Blisters caused by friction, allergens, and burns are temporary reactions to stimuli. In these cases, the best treatment is to avoid what is causing your skin to blister.
The blisters caused by infections are also temporary, but they may require treatment. If you suspect you have some type of infection, you should see your healthcare provider.
In addition to medication for the infection, your healthcare provider may be able to give you something to treat the symptoms. If there is a known cause for the blisters, such as contact with a certain chemical or use of a drug, discontinue use of that product.
Some conditions that can cause blisters, such as pemphigus, don’t have a cure. Your healthcare provider can prescribe treatments that will help you manage symptoms. This may include steroid creams to relieve skin rashes or antibiotics to cure skin infections.
Prognosis for blisters
In most cases, blisters aren’t part of a life-threatening condition. Most will go away without treatment, but may cause you pain and discomfort in the meantime.
The quantity of blisters you have, and whether these have ruptured or have become infected, is important in the outlook of your condition. If you treat an infection that is causing blisters, your outlook is good. For rare skin conditions, how well treatments work will depend on the individual situation.
Prevention of friction blisters
For the most common of blisters — those caused by friction on the skin of your feet — you can practice basic preventive measures:
Always wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes.
If you will be walking for a long period of time, use thickly cushioned socks to reduce friction.
As you walk, you may feel a blister beginning to form. Stop and protect this area of skin with a bandage to prevent further friction.
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