Blisters • First Aid and natural treatment

A bister is a pocket of fluid between layers of skin. Blisters can be caused by friction, infection, chemical burns, freezing, or from bacterial and viral infections. The most common blisters occur from friction and on our feet. These occur most commonly in moist conditions.

Image of Essential oil, lavender twig--Lavender oil for blisters

MEDICAL FIRST AID

If the blister is small and you can protect it from further friction, it will heal on its own.  New skin will form and your body will absorb the fluid.  The fluid will keep the underlying skin clean and prevent infection.

If you have a blister in an area where you are likely to exert pressure on it and/or if it is very large, you can drain it.  First you would clean it, sterilize any “tool” you use to puncture it, either with a flame or alcohol.  If the fluid is not clear, it may be infected, and a trip to the doctor may be in order.  Don’t pull off the skin; it is protection for the wound.  Cover with a flexible bandage, or a gauze pad if the blister is too large for a bandage. Leave it open to the air at night and apply a clean dressing in the mornings.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

The doctor may tell you to apply an antibiotic ointment but we are all into natural methods and there are natural ways to treat a blister.

SELF TREATMENT

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil like coconut, or undiluted drops (of one or more kinds) can be added to a foot bath. A small number of oils can be applied undiluted to the skin.

  • Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Helichrysum
  • Lavender
  • Melaleuca
  • Melissa
  • Myrrh
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Tea tree

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • L-lysine
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin E, internally and topically
  • Zinc, topically

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Aloe vera gel
  • Apply raw garlic
  • Castor oil
  • Diatomaceous earth, mixed to a paste with water, applied topically
  • Engo patch
  • Epsom salt foot bath or compress
  • Green tea foot soak
  • Wear shoes and socks that fit properly and minimize friction.
  • Witch hazel for drying effects

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

Protect broken blisters from infection.

PREVENTION

  • Avoid contact with others’ skin infections.
  • Avoid contact with people who have viral illnesses (think cold sores and chickenpox).
  • If you feel a blister forming on your foot, stop and put some padding over the spot (i.e. moleskin).
  • Rub antiperspirant on your feet before wearing sandals to help keep straps from rubbing.  Antiperspirant also has a drying effect.
  • Toughen up your feet with applications of 10% tannic acid for a few weeks before participating in an activity that might cause blisters (for hard-core athletes).  Consult a doctor first.
  • Try using a heel lift to lessen the friction if you are getting blisters on the back of the foot.
  • Use powder on your feet before putting on socks (this could get messy as your feet sweat).
  • Wear fitted socks (no tube socks) with new shoes; consider moisture-wicking material or knee-high nylons.  Research supports the idea that acrylic and polypropylene fibers will provide better protection than cotton socks; you also need “shoe upper breathability” so moisture can evaporate.
  • Wear shoes that are appropriate for the sport.
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