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Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Blister

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Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Blister

Taken from Adventure Medical Kits’ Wilderness & Travel Medicine Guide, By Dr. Eric A. Weiss

Did you know blisters are one of the most common injuries in the outdoors? Within hours a small rub in your boots can turn into a painful blister. However, with a few basic preventions tricks and early treatment you can protect your feet and keep a blister from interrupting your adventure.

Blister Prevention and Treatment

Prevention-

Eliminate as many of these contributing factors as possible:

  • Make sure your shoes fit properly. If your shoes are too tight you’ll have pressure sores, too loose leads to friction and irritation.
  • Break in new boots BEFORE a trip.
  • Avoid cotton socks and considering wicking materials like CoolMax or wool.
  • Avoid prolonged wetness(wetness breaks down the skin and predisposes it to blistering). Keep feet dry
  • Before hiking, apply blister treatments like Glacier Gel, Moleskin to sensitive areas where blisters commonly occur.

Signs and Symptoms

Hot spots are sore, red areas of irritation, which if allowed to progress, develop into blisters. Do the following to prevent hot spots from becoming blisters.

  • Apply Glacier Gel to the inflamed area, taking care to prep the surrounding skin with alcohol to add adhesion.
  • Utilize Moleskin to protect the area. Take a small piece of moleskin and cut a circle in the center approximately the same size as the area.
  • Center the oval over the hot spot and secure into place. This will act as a buffer against further rubbing. (Include illustrations for this)

Treatment of Small Blisters

  • If the blister is still intact, do not puncture or drain it. Utilize the directions above and protect the blister with Glacier Gel or Moleskin preparation.

Treatment of Large or Ruptured Blisters

  • If the blister is intact, puncture it with a clean needle at its base and massage out the fluid. The fluid contains inflammatory juices can delay healing.
  • Trim away any loose skin from the bubble and clean the area with an antiseptic towel or soap and water.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment and cover with a non-adherent dressing or other dressings including Spenco 2nd Skin or Glacier Gel.
  • Utilize Moleskin or Molefoam to protect the area. Take a small piece of moleskin and cut a circle in the center approximately the same size as the area.
  • Center the oval over the hot spot and secure into place with tape. This will act as a buffer against further rubbing. Change the dressing every day.
  • Inspect the wound daily for infection-this includes redness, swelling, increased pain or cloudy fluid under the dressing. If infection occurs, remove the dressing and allow the area to drain. Consult a doctor as soon as you are able.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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