Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center


  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:




A blister is a fluid-filled bump on the skin.


Nucleus factsheet imagehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=24432443si2179.jpgBlistersNULLjpgBlistersNULL\\filer01\Intellect\images\si2179.jpgCopyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.20NULL2002-10-012553912443_12012274390Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Blisters have many causes, such as:

  • Friction or constant pressure
  • Second-degree burns
  • Infections
  • Skin irritation from:
  • Certain cancers
  • Blistering diseases—such as epidermolysis bullosa, porphyria, or pemphigus
  • Autoimmune disorders

Risk Factors

Things that may increase the risk of blisters are:

  • Wearing shoes tht do not fit well
  • Repetitive work with hand tools
  • Getting a sunburn or frostbite
  • Severe skin swelling, especially of the legs


Symptoms of a blister are:

  • A fluid-filled bump on the skin, which is often round
  • Fluid that is usually clear, but may be bloody, cloudy, or contain pus


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Blisters may be diagnosed on appearance.


A blister will often heal without treatment. Sometimes the underlying cause needs to be treated.

Treatment options are:

  • Washing the area
  • Applying over-the-counter medicine—to ease itching and discomfort
  • Applying antibiotic ointment—to prevent or treat an infection
  • Bandaging the area—to protect it


To lower the risk of a blister:

  • Wear shoes that fit properly. Always wear socks with your shoes.
  • Use gloves or protective padding when working with tools.
  • Wear a hat, protective clothing, and sunscreen when out in the sun.
  • Avoid skin contact with irritating chemicals or plants




  • Abiad M, Kurban M, Abbas O. Recurrent blisters with pain following thermal burn injury to left leg and foot. Int J Dermatol. 2019;58(12):1377-1378.
  • Blistering skin conditions. DermNet New Zealand website. Available at: https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/blistering-skin-conditions.
  • Blisters. Better Health Channel website. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/blisters.
  • Blisters—causes. NHS Choices website. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blisters.
  • Blisters, calluses, and corns. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/blisters.html.
  • Major burns. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/major-burns.


  • April Scott, NP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.