Blisters

Blisters are small pockets of fluid within the upper layers of the skin.  Blisters can be caused by forceful rubbing, burns, allergic reactions, freezing, chemical exposure or viral illnesses of the skin. Most blisters are filled with a clear plasma fluid known as serum. Blisters that are filled with blood are commonly called blood blisters.  Any type of blister can become easily infected if not treated properly.

Seek immediate medical attention for blisters resulting from a burn or from chemical exposure.  Persons should also contact a health care provider if they develop blisters inside of the mouth, a blister that is oozing pus, or one that is extremely painful and red.

First Aid for a minor blister begins with properly draining the blister fluid, unless the blister looks infected or the person has a fever; multiple, grouped blisters; diabetes; or poor circulation

  • Wash your hands and the blister using lukewarm water and mild soap.
  • Disinfect the area around the blister with rubbing alcohol.
  • Disinfect a clean, sharp needle by dipping or rinsing it in rubbing alcohol.
  • Use the disinfected needle to gently puncture the outside edge of the blister and let the fluid drain.  Try to leave the overlying skin in position.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin or Bacitracin on the blister, and cover with a bandage.
  • After a few days, use disinfected tweezers or scissors to cut away the remaining dead skin, apply more ointment and cover the area with a bandage.

Protect the blister while it is healing, and prevent new blisters from forming on feet by wearing acrylic rather than cotton socks and choosing work or athletic shoes that fit properly.  Apply powder to necessary areas before performing activities that involve constant friction.  To prevent new blisters from forming on hands, wear proper work gloves to when moving heavy objects, gardening, working on a vehicle, or performing any activity that puts extreme pressure on hands.

Related Article: Double up on Socks to Prevent Blisters?

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Human Bites

Human bite wounds, like animal bite wounds can be dangerous because the human mouth contains many different types of transmittable bacteria and viruses.

A person who has sustained a human bite wound that has broken the skin will need a tetanus shot within 48 hours if it has been over 5 years since their last booster.

The three general types of human bite injuries that can lead to complications are:

  • A closed-fist injury,
  • A chomping injury to the finger, and
  • A puncture-type wound to the head area caused by clashing with another person’s tooth.

First Aid for a human bite wound starts with stopping the bleeding:

  • Apply firm, direct pressure with sterile gauze or clean cloth until bleeding stops.  Wash the wound with mild soap and water for several minutes under running water.
  • Pat the area dry and apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
  • Protect the wound from further accidental injury by applying a clean gauze or bandage.
  • Change the dressing and continue to apply a fresh layer of antibiotic ointment at least twice a day.
  • Monitor the area for signs of infection such as swelling, painful redness, or puss.

Call 911 if blood is spurting from the wound and cannot be stopped within 10 minutes because deeper bite wounds may require stitches.  Tell the emergency health care provider if the person suffering a human bite to the hand has stiffness, numbness, or trouble moving fingers.  These symptoms indicate potential damage to tendons or nerves.

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