How to treat a blister

Blisters usually result from friction on the hands or soles of feet and can be painful, but heal easily once the cause is removed. Follow the treatment steps below, which are based on NHS recommendations:

Graphic representation of hand washing as a wound treatment step in the Leukoplast wound care advisor.

1. Wash your hands:

“Wash your hands before touching a burst blister.” 1
Graphic representation of a magnifying glass with an exclamation mark as a symbol for the strict observance of hygiene rules during wound treatment.

2. Observe hygiene:

Do not burst a blister yourself; it is likely that you will contaminate the wound. If it is already burst, “allow the fluid to drain before covering it with a plaster or dressing”. 1

Graphic representation of a hand applying a wound dressing to another wrist to symbolise covering the wound as a treatment step.

3. Cover the wound:

“To protect your blister from becoming infected, a chemist can recommend a plaster or dressing to cover it while it heals.
A hydrocolloid dressing can help reduce pain and speed up healing.” 1

When to seek medical advice

A common blister can easily be treated at home. However, seek medical advice from a healthcare professional, if

  • a blister is very painful or keeps coming back.
  • the skin looks infected – it's hot and the blister is filled with green or yellow pus.
  • the skin around the blister looks red, (but this can be harder to see on darker skin tones).
  • a blister is in an unusual place – such as your eyelids, mouth or genitals.
  • several blisters have appeared for no reason.
  • a blister was caused by a burn or scald, sunburn, or an allergic reaction. 1

How to recognise an infected blister

If a blister becomes infected, the body's reactions to invading pathogens can be a warning signal. Pay attention to whether the wound

  • it becomes more painful
  • is warm to touch
  • looks red or swollen
  • leaks pus or blood
  • has an unpleasant smell
  • general deteriation, feeling unwell
  • If you notice signs of sepsis 2

Please contact your healthcare practitioner if you experience any of the above.

When in doubt, see a medical expert

Many common wounds can be dealt with at home. But when should a doctor be consulted? Scroll down for more information!

Pictogram showing a medical expert.

Medical references


2 International Wound Infection Institute (IWII) Wound infection in clinical practice. Wounds International 2016