Hey! It’s blister day!
For those of you who are concerned about what a blister is and what you should do about it, this short bit of info is for you.
If you were ever a kid or you have a kid or a tribe of them, you know that skin eruptions are an everyday occurrence. Next to dealing with poop and pee, skin lesions are at the top of the list as far as health concerns go. Most of us instinctively know that if you see an open wound from an accident of some kind, the best thing to do is to cover it up. But what about blisters? Should you leave them alone, pop them or what? I’ll answer those and give a few more suggestions below but first lets talk about what a blister is so that we can know how to best deal with them.
Blisters are classified in medicine as “primary skin lesions”. A primary skin lesion is a “skin change” that occurred as a result of an external force on the skin or an abnormal biochemical process that is carried out and produces a blemish on otherwise normal skin. Blisters, also called vesicles or bulla, have a defined border, and are caused by irritants, allergies, physical trauma such as friction or pinching, burns, or infections.
A blister is made up of an outer layer of skin and underneath that layer are fluids. The fluid can be clear which comes from lymphatic fluid, it can be red or blueish which means it is filled with whole blood, or it can be opaque and yellow which means it might be infected. The type of fluid it’s filled with depends on the cause.
So what should you do if you or someone in your clan has a blister? There is no answer that fits all situations, but I have listed a few guidelines that I like to use in my clinic.
The first thing you should do is consider whether or not a trip to the healthcare provider is in order. Blisters from friction or abrasions that are not infected rarely need medical attention. In many cases it is best to leave them alone because the body knows very well how to heal them. Blisters caused by infection should be further investigated, and my rule is if you don’t know what caused it, or, it shows up in multiple places, get in and have a professional look at it.
If you have an infection as a result of a blister from pinching or was caused by friction, then I like to treat them with a topical antibiotic or essential oils that have antibiotic/ antiviral properties. Lavender can be applied directly to the skin or you can use oregano or clove oil diluted with a carrier oil as long as the oil doesn’t irritate the lesion further. I like to try the oils on a piece of intact skin before trying to apply it onto a wound.
Something else that I use for blisters that are infected include propolis from bee pollen. It has amazing antimicrobial properties and if applied to a wound will often form a sticky film over it and heal very rapidly.
Blisters are annoying but they are part of life, something that all of us have to deal with. Depending on the cause, there are times when seeking medical attention for blisters makes sense, but most of the time, you can just use common sense and apply simple measures and then sit back and watch what happens.