Pierce, tear off the skin… How best to treat a blister?

Finally, summer vacation time! After spending the year locked up avoiding the rain and the Covid-19, we all want to enjoy the great outdoors. We take out the sandals, the hiking shoes and, for the bravest, the running shoes to get back to running in the sun (but not in the middle of the sun, huh!). Except that between bad sneakers and killer stilettos, in summer, our feet can experience painful blisters.

A little sore that can hurt a lot and that needs to be treated to prevent it from becoming infected. Should I drill it or not? Tear off the skin or not? 20 minutes gives you the steps to follow when you get a blister.

The bulb for dummies

“It’s a mechanical reaction: the blister forms in the event of repeated friction between the skin and the shoe, explains Dr. Isabelle Rousseaux, dermatologist. The rubbing causes inflammation, and the outer layer of the epidermis peels off to form a blister that fills with fluid.” And if you can get blisters all year round, summer is all the more favorable. The heat makes you sweat more, so your feet swell, which increases the risk of getting one.

The good reflex

“The risk with blisters is that they become infected. So first, the area is cleaned with soap and water or with an antiseptic of the mercurochrome or eosin type, prescribed by the dermatologist. Then, in the case of a large blister with a bubble filled with liquid, you can take a needle, which you will sterilize with alcohol or by passing it over the flame of a lighter (leaving it to cool, of course!), to pierce it. After that, we put on a hydrocolloid dressing, special blister, which has a silicone gel texture and which will relieve the pain by forming a small cushion on the blister, protecting the wound and promoting healing.

For the following days, “it’s about avoiding infection and ensuring proper healing, which can take about two weeks if you have a large blister,” says Dr. Rousseaux. The procedure is to “disinfect every day with an antiseptic. If the blister is large and raw, you can, during the first two or three days, wear a special blister dressing 24 hours a day to prevent nighttime friction. Otherwise, as soon as it starts to heal and be less painful, we let the skin breathe at night, she recommends. Then, it is better to take a shower with the bandage on to protect the wound, then gently dry it, disinfect it and put on a new bandage”.

The false good idea

“The skin must not be torn off: it acts as a natural dressing and promotes healing”, insists Dr. Rousseaux. As for grandmother’s remedy which consists of passing a thread through the eye of a needle, then leaving it in the bulb after having pierced it, we forget. “Because it could cause an infection,” continues the dermatologist.

And if your blisters and you’re already at your vacation spot, “it’s better to avoid going barefoot in the sand when it’s very cool. The risk: sticking to the raw wound that is still painful, reminds Dr. Rousseaux. Another bad idea is to soak in sea or pool water, at the risk of infecting the wound. It’s a precaution to take just at the beginning, ”she reassures.

It happened to them

As a good pro of resolutions that we do not keep, Julie had promised herself to resume sport. “I finally terminated my subscription card to the room, where I had not set foot for a year, confides the young woman. Three months ago, with the return of sunny days and the prospect of a summer vacation in a bathing suit, I wanted to go running. I put on my new sneakers, and after twenty-five minutes of not very comfortable stride, my face was as red as a tomato and especially the hollow of the sole of my left foot was knocked out by a huge blister. When I got home, I washed my foot with soap and water, dried it gently, and pierced the blister with a clean needle, then disinfected it with an antiseptic spray. But at night, with the rubbing of the pierced blister against the sheets, I had a lot of pain. So the next day I cut off the peeling skin. Clearly, that wasn’t a good idea. The skin was raw underneath, for three days I had trouble walking! Fortunately, I teleworked because I was in great pain with every step. It took more than three weeks to heal properly! »

And Julie collects them. “I must have blistered feet!” A few days ago, these are sandals with low heels that got the better of my little toes, in a few minutes, I had two blisters, small but already painful with each step. In practice, “there are no blistered feet, but blistered shoes,” emphasizes Dr. Rousseaux. Most often, they form because of unsuitable shoes, new or too tight, and it goes very quickly”. Like Julie, who didn’t hang around: “I rushed to the nearest supermarket and took blister dressings, with a gel texture, to relieve the chafing. It’s so effective that now I always keep one in my purse to be ready! »

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