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Blisters in Children

What is a blister?

A blister is a bump on the skin containing fluid. Blisters are usually round in shape. The fluid that forms underneath the skin can be bloody or clear.

What causes a blister?

Blisters are caused by injury, allergic reactions, or infections, which may include the following:

  • Burns and scalds

  • Sunburns

  • Friction (such as from a shoe)

  • Contact dermatitis

  • Impetigo, a contagious skin infection

  • Viral infections, including chickenpox and herpes zoster

  • Fungus

  • Thumb-sucking

  • Medicine reactions

The symptoms of a blister may resemble other skin conditions or medical problems. Always talk with your child's healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

First aid for blisters

Blisters often heal on their own. Treatment will vary according to the cause. Some general guidelines for treatment may include:

  • Wash the area with soap and water.

  • A cold or ice pack may help reduce swelling and discomfort.

  • Keep the area clean and dry. Don't burst or puncture the blister.

  • If the blister bursts, place an adhesive bandage or dressing on the area to keep it clean.

  • Watch the area for signs of infection. These include increased warmth, swelling, redness, drainage, pus formation, or pain. If you see any signs of infection, call your child's healthcare provider. Antibiotics may be needed.

Blisters that don't heal, or, blisters that keep coming back, should be seen by a healthcare provider.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
  • Lehrer, Michael Stephen, MD