How to treat a blister

Wilderness First Aid

Spend enough time hiking and camping and you are bound to get a blister, plain and simple. But understanding how to treat a blister can stop a potentially painful situation. If the blister is on the smaller side and does not hurt too much, you should try to leave it alone because the unpunctured skin serves as a protective barrier that helps keep bacteria away. Remember, an open wound is quick way to get an infection. Simply cover the intact blister with a piece of moleskin or a bandage. If the blister is painful you can take first aid care into your own or someone else’s trusted hands and attempt to drain it.

How to properly drain a blister

Draining blister usually helps with the pain, but also increases the risk of infection. Here is how to drain a blister while leaving the skin intact.

1. Clean the area! Wash your hands, the blister and area surrounding the injury with warm water and soap.

2. Next, swab the blister and immediate area surrounding it with iodine. An iodine swab should be in your first aid kit.

3. Take steps to sterilize a clean, sharp needles. Rubbing alcohol works well. These as well should be in your first aid kit.

4. With the needle, puncture the blister in a few spots around the edge. This allows the fluid to drain while keeping the skin intact.

5. Apply an antibiotic ointment  then cover it with a nonstick gauze bandage. If you are still hiking or in the backcountry, secure the gauze in place.

6. Change the bandage frequently. While doing this make sure to clean the area, taking care not to tear the skin.

If you are treating a torn blister, do not remove the skin. Rather try and place it over the wound.  If the skin is gone, apply antibiotic ointment and bandage.

Remember the first way to treat a blister is to prevent blisters from ever happening. 

Source: Mayo Clinic