A blister is a soft area of skin filled with a clear fluid. Frequently, they are caused from friction, such as a coarse fabric rubbing repeatedly against a person's skin. In other cases, they form in response to a chemical or allergic irritant, which is known as contact dermatitis. Some oral and topical drugs may cause blisters to appear. They can also be symptomatic of bacterial or viral skin infections, such as cold sores, chicken pox, shingles, impetigo or ringworm. Lastly, blisters occur when the skin is exposed to a flame, comes in contact with a hot surface or is overexposed to the sun.
Most blisters do not require medical attention. The most important information to remember is never to pop or break open one. A blister acts as a protective covering for damaged skin and helps prevent infection. If one does open on its own, be sure to leave the covering in place to support further healing. Simply wash the area gently with mild soap and water, pat it dry and apply an antibacterial ointment. Cover it with bandage to keep it clean. Replace the dressing at least once a day. Watch for signs of infection, such as a white or yellow pus, redness or red streaks or an increase in skin temperature around the blister.
To avoid blisters, you need to eliminate the irritant. Some simple ways to avoid blisters are to avoid tight clothing, make sure socks and shoes fit properly, and when doing heavy work with your hands, wear work gloves.
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