How to Safely Pop a Blister

Avoid the source of your blister for a week, or until the skin heals.
Avoid the source of your blister for a week, or until the skin heals. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

You know that feeling -- the irritation followed by the stinging burn of a fresh blister. Blisters occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from small burns to prolonged friction between your skin and shoes, or tight-fitting equipment. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, popping a blister should never be your first line of treatment. Popping the blister exposes raw skin, which becomes vulnerable to infection and further irritation. However, in certain areas of your body, such as your pinky toe or heel, an intact blister can quickly become extremely painful. Popping the blister yourself lets you prevent bacteria from penetrating the wound by controlling the method, sterility and immediate follow-up care of your blistered skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sewing needle
  • Iodine
  • Gauze
  • Medical tape

Put on your rubber gloves. Your hands should be clean when you drain the blister.

Rub the sewing needle clean by massaging it vigorously with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol.

Dab the blister gently with a second cotton swab soaked in alcohol. Removing bacteria from the puncture implement and the surface skin will reduce your chances of infection.

Pierce the skin bubble gently with your sterilized sewing needle, just deep enough to cause fluid to drain. A single, shallow puncture is sufficient when draining your blister. Do not attempt to peel or tear your blister with the sewing needle, as this will expose more raw skin to bacteria.

Express the blister by gently placing your finger opposite the puncture site. Remove your finger when the fluid stops flowing easily. Do not squeeze or pinch the blister.

Cleanse the popped blister with a cotton swab soaked in iodine. You can use rubbing alcohol, but this will cause quite a sting.

Secure a clean piece of gauze over the blister with medical tape. Change the bandage and wash the blister with antibacterial soap each time you bathe to keep infection at bay.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prevent irritation and avoid rubbing the bandage-covered blister against anything, such as shoes or equipment.
  • Blister fluid should be clear. White or yellow pus inside a blister is typically a sign of infection and warrants medical attention.
  • Consult your doctor if you have diabetes or another disease that increases the risk of infection in open wounds.

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