Children's Health and Wellness

Blisters in Children

What is a blister?

A blister is a bump on the skin containing fluid. Blisters are usually circular in shape. The fluid that forms underneath the skin can be bloody or clear.

What causes a blister?

Blisters are caused by injury, allergic reactions, or infections, which may include the following:

  • Burns/scalds

  • Sunburns

  • Friction (from a shoe, for example)

  • Contact dermatitis

  • Impetigo (a contagious infection of the skin)

  • Viral infections (including chickenpox and herpes zoster)

The symptoms of a blister may resemble other skin conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

First-aid for blisters

Blisters often heal spontaneously. Treatment will vary according to the cause. Some general guidelines for treatment may include:

  • Wash the area with soap and water.

  • A cold or ice pack may help reduce swelling and discomfort.

  • Keep the area clean and dry. Do not burst or puncture the blister.

  • If the blister bursts, place an adhesive bandage or dressing on the area to keep it clean.

  • Observe the area for signs of infection such as increased warmth, swelling, redness, drainage, pus formation, or pain. If you notice any signs of infection, call your child's physician. Antibiotics may be needed.

Print Source: Sauer's Medical Textbook. Hall, John C. Fourth edition, 2006, pp. 451-2.
Online Source: kidshealth.orghttp://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/aches/blisters.html#a_Caring_for_Blisters__Calluses__and_Corns
Online Source: kidshealth.orghttp://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=KidsHealth&lic=1&ps=107&cat_id=20028&article_set=22940
Online Source: kidshealth.orghttp://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=KidsHealth&lic=1&ps=107&cat_id=20047&article_set=22999
Online Source: American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunologyhttp://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/allergic-skin-conditions.aspx
Online Source: Merck Manual, Home Health Handbookhttp://www.merckmanuals.com/home/skin_disorders/blistering_diseases/overview_of_blistering_disorders.html
Online Source: Up to Date: Genital Herpeshttp://www.uptodate.com
Online Editor: Green, Chelsea
Online Medical Reviewer: Haines, Cynthia, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ziegler, Olivia Walton, MS, PA-C
Date Last Reviewed: 2/12/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.