CHOC Children's
DERMATOLOGY :: Skin Injury

Blisters

What is a blister?

A blister is a bump on the skin containing fluid. Blisters are usually circular in shape. The fluid that forms underneath the skin can be bloody or clear.

What causes a blister?

Blisters are caused by injury, allergic reactions, or infections, which may include the following:

  • burns/scalds
  • sunburns
  • friction (from a shoe, for example)
  • contact dermatitis
  • impetigo (a contagious infection of the skin)
  • viral infections (including chickenpox and herpes zoster)

The symptoms of a blister may resemble other skin conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

First-aid for blisters:

Blisters often heal spontaneously. Treatment will vary according to the cause. Some general guidelines for treatment may include:

  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • A cold or ice pack may help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Keep the area clean and dry - do not burst or puncture the blister.
  • If the blister bursts, place an adhesive bandage or dressing on the area to keep it clean.
  • Observe the area for signs of infection such as increased warmth, swelling, redness, drainage, pus formation, or pain. If you notice any signs of infection, call your child's physician. Antibiotics may be needed.

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.

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