Blisters are fluid-filled bumps that look like bubbles on the skin. Most of the time they're caused by something rubbing against the skin. Sometimes injuries to the skin, such as burns, spider bites, or pinching, can cause a blister. Infections can also cause blisters.
You can treat most blisters at home. A small, unbroken blister on the hand or foot, or even a blood blister, will usually heal on its own.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
How can you care for your child at home?
- If a blister is small and closed, leave it alone. Use a loose bandage to protect it. Have your child avoid the activity that caused the blister.
- If a small blister is on a weight-bearing area like the bottom of the foot, protect it with a doughnut-shaped moleskin pad. Leave the area over the blister open.
- It's best not to drain a blister at home. But if a blister is large and very painful, or it's in a spot where it can't avoid getting popped, you may need to drain it. If you do decide to drain a blister, make sure to follow these steps.
- Wash your hands and gently wash the area around the blister.
- Wipe a needle with rubbing alcohol.
- Gently puncture the edge of the blister.
- Press the fluid in the blister toward the hole so it can drain out.
- After you have opened a blister, or if it has torn open:
- Carefully smooth the flap over the tender skin and keep the area as clean as possible. Don't remove the flap unless there is pus or the area looks infected.
- If the flap of skin over a blister is very dirty or has torn, gently wash the area. If possible, put the flap of skin back in place. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on the blister. They can slow healing.
- You may cover the blister with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage.
- Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
When should you call for help?
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your child has signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the blister.
- Pus draining from the blister.
- A fever.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- Your child does not get better as expected.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter O974 in the search box to learn more about "Blisters on Hand or Foot in Children: Care Instructions".
Current as of: March 22, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine