Home Remedies and Preventatives for Blisters

what are blisters, what causes blisters, prevention for blisters and how to care for blisters

In our busy lives, always on the go, I am sure at some point we have all experienced a blister, their discomfort and pain. So, what is a blister? In simple terms, a blister is a result of friction. A blister is a way of telling our bodies to stop whatever it is such as a muscle cramp. Sometimes we push ourselves beyond what our bodies can take and little things within our bodies have to signal us that enough is enough. If our skin and clothing rubs excessively at the outer layer of skin, that layer gets damaged. A blister is formed, which swells and fills with fluid. Left untreated, the blister can grow, can become infected, being extremely painful and possibly cause other problems.

Of course, the first and most logical way to treat blisters is the preventative method. To prevent blisters on your hands, working with new or unaccustomed tools or equipment, wear good thick work gloves. When doing a lot of walking, running or hiking, be sure to wear well broken-in shoes for guaranteed comfort. Also be sure you change your socks often if they get moist for any reason as wet socks will also cause rubbing and friction.

The most common treatment is to wash the area with soap & water, after breaking open the blister so it can drain. Use a sterile needle to do so and poke a small hole within the blister, draining the fluid, wash the blister, apply a small amount of anti-biotic cream and cover with a band aid. To sterilize your needle or pin, you can either place it over a flame until it turns red then let it cool before using . . . or you can also use rubbing alcohol to get the same sterile effect on that needle/pin. If there is painful swelling you can apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling and take some ibuprofen for any pain involved.

When you stick the blister to drain it, don’t pull off any of the skin from the blister itself as it is nature’s “band-aid”. If you leave that skin on, it'll eventually harden up and fall off by itself, significantly reducing your recovery time, healing itself once it drains. The triple anti-biotic cream can eliminate bacterial contamination. The old remedies such as Iodine and camphor-phenol can actually delay healing of your blisters. They can eventually kill the cells that they are trying to heal. The triple anti-biotic followed by covering with a flexible fabric adhesive strip is the recommended treatment by doctors. If, however, you need to return to normal activities before the blister is completely healed, you may want to try a product called Spenco's Second Skin dressing, a spongy material that absorbs pressure and reduces friction against blisters and its’ surrounding skin. Apply petroleum jelly to the area before using this dressing so it does not stick to the blistered area.

When treating and waiting for your blister to heal, be sure to expose it to some air whenever possible. Air and water are very good for most healing. Soak the area in water and keep it open to the air at night. When you have to go out, treat the area as described above until fully healed. If and when your bandage gets wet, be sure to change the band aid and/or dressing as a wet dressing will not heal the area as quickly.

Again the best treatment for blisters is prevention. Some of the measures you can take for preventative measures are:

• Try heel lifts in your shoes as many feet do not hit the back of the heel of the shoe properly. Placing a heel lift at the back of the shoe may help them to fit better.

• Be sure to always wear socks, preferably “breathing” 100% cotton socks. Many people like to go without socks as the new trend but it is not wise if you are susceptible to blisters.

• Try applying powder to your feet prior to putting on socks to help them fit better . . . also helps with perspiration.

• If you are planning on long walks or any activity requiring that you are on your feet a lot, coat the area prone to blisters with petroleum jelly or even A&D Ointment.

• Insoles may also be a remedy in gaining more comfort from your shoes and less discomfort from blisters.

If you continue to have extensive problems with your feet and blisters it may be wise to visit your podiatrist or physician for expert advice. Whatever the problem may be regarding blisters, on your hands or your feet, it is wise to be aware of the preventative measures to take, warding off these problems to begin with. Yet, if you do contract a blister unexpectedly; trying these few simple remedies will keep your hands and feet in good tip top shape.

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