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Unless the blister is a blood blister, which is filled with blood, blister fluid is the clear liquid that seeps from the body’s tissues to fill the bubble of skin when a blister forms. It’s called serum, and it protects the skin beneath the bubble. Both the skin that forms blisters and the fluid in blisters work together to protect the injury and allow it to heal. Generally, the fluid seeps back into the body once the injury heals, but sometimes it’s necessary to pop a blister and drain the fluid. People with certain illnesses, such as those with diabetes, should take care to seek medical attention whenever blisters or other injuries form on their feet.
Simply put, blisters are composed of two parts. These parts are the blister fluid, which keeps the injured skin clean and protects it from becoming infected, and the skin, which forms the blister bubble and holds the fluid in place. Despite such protections, blisters and the injured skin beneath them can sometimes become infected. If a blister becomes infected, the skin around it will become warm or painful and the person might see the skin turn red or pus forming around or oozing from the blister. At this point, it’s best to see a doctor.
Usually, blister treatment consists of keeping the blister clean and bandaged, and leaving it alone so it can heal the injured skin beneath it. People can use regular adhesive bandages to cover small blisters, called vesicles. Bigger blisters, called bullae, might require larger pieces of gauze or some other type of lightweight medical wrapping. Once the injured skin beneath the blister heals, the skin will absorb the blister fluid. Most often, the empty dead skin bubble that forms the outer part of the blister sloughs away on its own, but other times the person must use sterilized clippers and/or tweezers to remove it.
Doctors usually recommend popping blisters and removing the blister fluid only if they’ve become painful, or prevent the person from using his hands or walking. To pop a blister, the person must first wash his hands, the blister, and the area surrounding the blister. Then, he must sterilize a needle with alcohol, and gently insert the needle into the blister. Once the blister fluid drains, he can use sterilized clippers and tweezers to remove the remaining dead skin. Finally, he should apply antibiotic ointment to the injury and cover it with an appropriately sized bandage.
People with diabetes and certain other illnesses are prone to developing foot-related problems. These people should consult their physicians whenever a blister or any other skin problem appears on their feet. The blisters could be indicative or more serious problems, and popping blisters or improperly caring for them can lead to infections.