If you’re like most people who believe popping blisters is a fast way to heal a burn, you should probably rethink that before popping your blister.
Popping a blister can cause a wide range of complications and discomfort, perhaps more significant discomfort than you already experience from the blister.
Let’s look at some steps you can take to heal burn blisters faster without getting infected.
Should You Pop A Blister From A Burn?
If your skin blisters after a burn, you shouldn’t pop the blisters because the extra layer and fluid covering your burn provide protection against infections.
Although it is advisable not to pop your blisters, some blisters may become uncomfortable because of the area of the body affected.
However, if you decide to pop the blister, there are some safety precautions you should take to avoid it getting infected.
But keep in mind that popping your blister will slow down the natural healing process.
1. Wash your hands and clean the blisters
Ensure your hands are clean. If not, wash in lukewarm water and mild soap.
Clean the surface of the blister using little soap, and avoid using a disinfectant, iodine, alcohol, or antiseptic wash. Cleaning it would help rid the surface of any lurking infection.
2. Disinfect your needle with alcohol
Using an infected needle would most likely cause more harm than good. Dip your hand in a disinfectant like alcohol for a few seconds before using it.
3. Gently puncture the blister
Poke the blister carefully two to three times along the edges. Ensure that you keep more of the skin intact as much as possible and allow the fluids to drain.
4. Cover the blister with ointment and dress carefully
Apply an ointment to the surface of the blister. Dress it with a clean bandage that doesn’t shed fibers.
Ensure that the coverage is light and not too tight. Observe the blisters and apply some ointments daily.
What Is A Burn Blister?
Burn blisters are swellings that pop- up or form because of a burn or other conditions that irritate the skin surface. They usually occur because of fluid collecting in the space within the top layer of the skin.
Blisters are filled with a fluid such as pus, blood, or serum, and although they might be highly uncomfortable, they only surface to protect us against certain infections.
Blisters are the body’s way of protecting the underlying skin from infections and other complications.
Burn blisters can form, whether it’s mild or severe burns. In most cases, they occur in circles, and they could either appear as bubbles or clusters depending on the cause or the degree of burn.
Besides burns or heat, other conditions that could cause blisters are friction, skin reactions, and other medical conditions.
How Do Burn Blisters Form?
To fully comprehend how burn blisters form, we need to understand the anatomy of the skin.
There are three layers of tissues surrounding our bones and organs; the epidermis(the outermost layer), dermis(the middle layer), and subcutaneous layer(the innermost layer of the skin). Together, these three layers make up our skin.
When thermal burns occur, there is usually a degree of damage done to the layers of the skin, depending on the severity of the burn.
In mild cases, the epidermis alone gets damaged, but the dermis also gets damaged with the epidermis in severe cases.
When this damage occurs, there is usually a split or removal of the epidemic from the skin layer. When these skin cells get separated, hydrostatic pressure allows a plasma-like blister fluid to form within the space.
Blister fluid is plasma-rich in protein as it is like blood plasma with the same electrolyte concentration.
This fluid’s primary purpose is to cushion the layer beneath, shield it from external infections, and stop further damage, giving the damaged tissues time to heal.
Burns happen in different ways, from scald burns to injuries caused by hot liquids, grease, steam, and fire burn.
That means your blisters can also happen due to temperature extremes, causing fluids to fill up your skin surface. The timing of your blister formation can also depend on the severity of your burn.
Do Burns Blister Immediately?
The rate at which your burns blister depends on the severity of your burn. Let us look at each degree of burns and when they blister.
The first-degree burn is a type of burn called superficial burn, as it only affects the first layer of the skin, which is the epidermis.
A typical example of a first-degree burn is a sunburn. It is usually only accompanied by painful, red, and dry skin. In most cases, it does not develop into a blister and heals within three to six days without scarring.
Where a blister occurs from a first-degree burn, it forms after a couple of days.
A second-degree burn is more dreadful than the first. It affects not only the epidermis but also the dermis, the middle layer of the skin. The burns appear red, swollen, and blistered, causing much pain. The second-degree stage of burn blisters immediately after the incident.
They are the most severe type of burn and could lead to death. Third-degree burns are life-threatening, as they damage all three layers of the skin. They cause swelling, redness, and blistering.
Third-degree burns are also called full-thickness burns, extending through all three layers of the skin.
The blistering forms immediately; there are no sensations felt as all nerve endings are destroyed.
How Long Does It Take For A Blister To Pop?
Mild blisters should pop and heal naturally within three to seven days, with no medical intervention.
Severe cases of blisters might take longer to heal and require medical attention. It is always better to let your blisters heal on their own without popping them yourself.
If your blisters pop on their own, try not to peel off the layer of skin covering the damaged skin and cover the area with a dry, sterile dressing to protect from infection.
How To Treat A Burn Blister
If you decide to pop your blisters, they have to be treated to heal faster. Sometimes the blisters pop by themselves, leaving you with no choice but to find a solution.
Here is the primary burn blister care you should consider, whether you pop your blisters or they pop naturally.
- Clean the affected area with some water and mild soap, and stick to non-perfumed soap. While you’re cleaning, refrain from breaking them if they haven’t popped yet.
- Gently apply some ointments to the blister. You can use antibiotics, petroleum jelly, or some aloe vera.
- Protect the area by wrapping it gently with a clean non-stick gauze bandage; ensure that the plaster you’re using doesn’t shed fibers that can get stuck in the burn.
- Apply an antibiotic, or use over-the-counter pain medication to numb the pain.
If your blister gets infected, it is best you also get it treated. Infected blisters are the worst and often dangerous if left unattended. A viral or bacterial infection could occur and spread to areas uninfected. Signs that your blisters have gotten infected are:
- Presence of pus
- Foul smell
To treat your infected blisters, visit your doctor as a more advanced medical intervention might be required. However, some home remedies could help relieve your symptoms and fight off infections.
Get some lukewarm water and gently pour on the surface for a short while; rinse and clean with a bit of soap after.
Add a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Soak the injury in the mixture for a short while.
After cleaning the wound, apply antiseptic to the surface of your blisters. Ensure your hands are clean before applying.
Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce the pains and the swelling.
Treating your blisters will save you from a lot of discomfort and pain. It’s always better to treat than to pop them, but if your blisters pop naturally, follow the steps listed above to ensure that they do not escalate into more complications.
If you encounter a more severe case of blisters or burn, then you should see your doctor for immediate professional medical care.
Pay attention to the signs and symptoms you notice in your blisters, and visit your doctor for treatment.