Most blisters are caused as a result of getting burnt. If it is a minor burn then you don’t need to seek medical attention for it. When the burn happens on the top of the uppermost layer of your skin, it is said to be a first-degree burn. One of the most common symptoms of a first-degree burn is a blister. If you have been burnt and your skin has developed a blister, then should you pop it or not is often a major question that goes on in people’s minds. We try to find the answer to this important question and also look at some other factors associated with burn blisters.
Understanding Burn Blisters
When you get a burn on the topmost layer of your skin then it is considered to a first-degree burn. It will cause your skin to:
- Turn red
When the burn goes deeper than the top-most layer then it is considered to be a second-degree burn, or it is also referred to as a partial thickness burn. The next level of burn is known as third-degree burns or a full thickness burn. Third-degree burns affect the deeper layers of the skin. A fourth-degree burn goes even deeper than the skin and it can result in burning of the tendons and bones even.
In a first degree burn, you will often experience a burn blister.
Burn Blister – Should You Pop It?
If you have experienced a burn and your skin has developed a blister afterward, then it is absolutely essential that you do not pop the burn blister. When you pop a burn blister, it may cause an infection. Apart from not popping the burn blister, you should also take some other steps and precautions to administer first aid and also take care of the blister.
What is the First Aid for Burns and Burn Blisters?
If you need to perform first aid on a person who has suffered a minor burn, then the immediate steps to be performed involves the ‘three C’s” – these are calm, clothing and cooling. Let us look at each of the steps:
Step 1: Calm
The important thing here is to remain calm and help the person who has suffered the burn remain calm as well.
Step 2: Clothing
If the person has suffered a chemical burn, then immediately remove all the clothes on which the chemical has been spilled or which touched the chemical. If the clothing is not stuck to the burn then remove it completely from the burnt area. If the clothing is stuck to the burn, then leave it as it is and take the person to the emergency room so that appropriate first aid can be administered, even if it is a minor burn.
Step 3: Cooling
Instead of using cold water, run cool water over the burned area (but gently) for at least 15 to 20 minutes. If there is no running water available, then you can either soak the affected are in a cool water bath or you can also take a clean cloth, soak it in cool water and then cover the burned area with this cloth.
When to Seek Medical Attention?
You need to call your doctor or go to an emergency room if you have experienced a burn that is:
- Larger than two-three inches
- Has many blisters and is dark red and glossy
- Was caused by chemicals
- Was caused by an open flame
- Was caused by an electricity source such as a wire or from a socket
- Is located on the face, hand, foot, buttocks, groin, or any joint such as an ankle, hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, or wrist
- Seems to be a third-degree or fourth-degree burn
After you have been provided with the initial treatment, your doctor will then provide you with a list of instructions on how to take care of your burn. Typically minor burns heal within two to three weeks.
If your burn starts to show signs of infection such as the ones described below, then you need to go back to your doctor and have the affected area checked again:
- Red streaks start extending from the burned area
- Increasing intensity of pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
Treatment for a Burn Blister
If you are sure that it is a minor burn and does not need any medical assistance, then here are some of the steps you can take to treat the burn blister:
- Clean the burn gently with water and soap, the non-perfumed kind
- Do not break any blister as it may lead to infection
- Apply a thin layer of any simple ointment to the burn. Even aloe vera or petroleum jelly will work. It does not need to be an antibiotic ointment.
- Wrap the burned area lightly with a sterile and non-sticky gauze bandage to keep the area protected. Do not use bandages that shed fibers as that can get stuck to the burned area and cause more harm and pain while removing it.
- If you are in pain, then use an over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medication such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil, Aspirin Motrin (ibuprofen), or Aleve (naproxen)
- If the burn blister pops or breaks, then clean the broken blister carefully and apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. Then cover the entire area with a sterile and non-sticky gauze bandage.
If you have suffered from a minor burn, then it is likely that you will develop a burn blister. When you are sure that you do not need medical assistance, then you can go ahead and treat it yourself at home itself. Do not pop the burn blister at any cost as this increases the risk of infection substantially. In case of a severe burn, you must see the doctor and have it checked out by a professional.
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