How to care for and prevent blood blisters

Written by jillian downer
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How to care for and prevent blood blisters
(Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A blood blister is a specific type of blister that forms when blood vessels near the skin's surface are damaged without actually opening the skin. Since the blood cannot escape through a wound, it forms a bubble of blood beneath the skin's surface. Blood blisters are most often caused by minor injuries like pinched skin and usually occur on the fingers and toes. Blood blisters are very similar to blisters with fluid in the way that they heal.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wash cloth or hand towel
  • Ice
  • Neosporin
  • Second skin
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Epsom salt
  • Large bucket
  • Soap

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  1. 1

    Apply a cold compress after an injury to help alleviate swelling, slow blood leakage and prevent bruising. Wrap a few ice cubes in a damp wash cloth or small towel and apply the compress to the injured area for about 10 minutes.

  2. 2

    Raise the injured area above your heart to help stop the bleeding and alleviate pressure. For example, a blister on the foot can be elevated by laying on a bed and placing your foot on a few pillows.

  3. 3

    Prevent blood blisters from forming. To help stop blood blisters from developing after skin is caught or pinched between a hard surface, keep your skin moist and pliable by drinking lots of fluids and moisturising daily.

  4. 4

    Reduce swelling. Epsom salts relax sore muscles and soothes injured skin, but are also a great way to ease swelling. Depending on where your blister is, you can fill a large bucket or bathtub with warm water and soak the area for about 15 minutes. Use 1/4 cup of Epsom salts for each gallon of water.

  5. 5

    Cover the blood blister. To avoid unintentionally popping a blood blister, protect it during your daily activities. If the blood blister is under constant pressure, protect it by using a strip of second skin and medical tape. The second skin will act as a temporary barrier and help speed the healing process.

  6. 6

    Protect a broken blood blister. In the case that your blood blister does break, immediately rinse the area with soap and water. Apply a thin layer of antibacterial ointment like Neosporin and cover the open blister with a bandage. Continue to wash and reapply a clean bandage every four hours for a day or two.

  7. 7

    Watch for signs of infection. If your blood blister isn't healing, seems to be getting worse or becomes more painful, it may be infected. Symptoms of infection may include fever, upset stomach, localised pain, red lines extending from the affected area and lesions. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Tips and warnings

  • Blood blisters will usually heal on their own with or without treatment.
  • You should never intentionally pop or drain a blood blister.
  • If you have a blood blister caused by severe cold, you may be suffering from frostbite and must seek immediate medical attention.
  • If the blood blister gets worse, the pain increases or you show signs of infection, see a doctor. Some blood blisters are symptomatic of a more serious condition and may need immediate medical attention.

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