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Written by Healthwords's team of doctors and pharmacists based in UK | Updated: 22.02.2023 | 2 min read

A blister occurs when fluid collects in a pocket between two of the upper layers of the skin. It's very common and most often a result of friction, such as shoes rubbing on the skin of your heel.

There can be other causes for blisters, such as a burn, abrasive substances, and sometimes viruses or medical conditions that can cause blistering.

Blisters should go away within seven days, and the majority can be treated at home. Blisters caused by friction or heat or toxic substances are not contagious. Blisters caused by some viral infections (such as impetigo, herpes, shingles, and chickenpox) can be contagious.

Next steps

If the blister is caused by friction, avoid popping the blister as it is protecting the damaged skin underneath from infection and will allow the skin underneath to heal over the course of a week. If you can’t remove the cause of the friction, then you can purchase blister plasters from the pharmacy, which will help protect the area from further damage. Leave any blister plaster on until it falls off on its own.

If the blister is caused by a burn, cool the area, ensure it is clean, and put a sterile dressing on. If you have blistered skin from a burn, it would be best to see your practice nurse or doctor.

Caidr pharmacists' top tips

There are different types of blister products to both treat blisters and prevent them from forming. Some products can be placed directly onto the blistered skin to provide moisture and protection, such as Compeed blister plasters that contain gel to cushion and comfort. Other types may be placed inside the shoe, such as a gel cushion on the inside of the heel or Achilles tendon, to provide cushioning and support.

If you continue to suffer with this problem, it may be worth booking an appointment to see a podiatrist to investigate any other issues that may be causing the problem.

When should I see my doctor?

You should see your doctor as soon as possible if the blister is extremely painful, looks infected (yellow pus inside it and red around the area), if the blister is a result of a mild burn (including from corrosive substances), or if the blister or blisters have occurred without a cause. If it is a result of a severe burn or if you feel unwell, then you should call 911 or go to the emergency department.

Am I fit for work?

You are fit for work if you have a simple blister.

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