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April 15, 2014

Blisters: Prevention and treatment

Although blisters, medically known as phlyctena, are usually inconsequential, they can still be annoying and painful.

Definition 

A blister can form due to a separation between the dermis and the epidermis, a phenomenon caused by inflammation or extensive friction in such places as the skin of heels, toes and palms. The space thus created fills with a serous fluid, a natural reaction of the body attempting to protect the tissue underlying the blister.

Causes Blisters are caused by continued friction against the skin from:
  • Shoes that do not match the contours of the foot;
  • Stockings that are not suited to a given activity.
Heat and an increase in the humidity factor also make the risk of blisters more likely.

Prevention
  • Choose shoes which correspond to the shape of your foot, both in width and length, in order to limit the number of pressure points.
  • For a long walk, wear two pair of stockings. Try various combinations for the greatest comfort. Polypropylene liner socks can be useful, since they keep feet dry and limit friction caused by shoes – the friction occurs, rather between the two pair of stockings.
  • For running, opt for seamless stockings specially designed for the event, neither too thick nor too finely woven, to avoid friction.
  • Always keep your feet dry.
Treatment 
It is strongly recommended that you not break the bubble to minimize pain and the risk of infection.

Hydrocolloid bandages, designed especially for the prevention and treatment of blisters, have recently appeared on the market. Like a second skin, these elastic dressings contain a cellulose component rather than the usual gauze. This gel expands to create a cushion and at the same time acts like a liquid to surround the blister with a moist environment that breathes and encourages healing. Acting as a shock absorber, it offers immediate relief so that healing is better and faster. The bandage does its work and then falls away on its own.
On the other hand, if the blister has been punctured, the wound should be sterlized and a bandage applied. If possible, keep the covering layer of the blister intact to expedite healing.

Persons suffering from diabetes should be extra careful, because their risk of infection from a blister is elevated.
 
In-store health services 
For personalized advice, consult the pharmacist at your nearest Uniprix. He will be happy to give you the benefit of his knowledge and suggest over-the-counter products suited to your needs.