Blood blisters are filled with fluid, mostly blood. This makes it hard to decipher whether they have been infected or not. The formation of pus or swelling are the most common indications that an open wound has been infected. But with a blood blister, it is already filled with fluid, swollen and painful.
Understanding the signs of an infected blood blister is very important. These signs will be the ones to tell you when to switch to stronger medications and when to see your doctor. Infected blood blisters not only harder to treat but are also dangerous.
Can blood blisters get infected?
So can blood blisters get infected? This is a commonly asked question. Definitely, the answer is yes, blood blisters can get infected. In fact, it is not the blisters themselves that are of so much concern, it is the probable infections they are prone to that calls for a lot of caution.
Staphylococcus bacteria strain is responsible for most blood blister infections. It is likely that you are carrying thousands of bacteria from this species on your skin. Once they come into contact with broken skin, they immediately enter the body. Immune response creates the commotion that leads to throbbing, burning sensation and pus formation. Depending on the severity of the invasion, serious bacterial infections may follow.
Viruses can also gain access into the body through blood blisters. A good example is herpes simplex virus. Skin to skin contact with an infected individual will transmit the virus. It is a common cause of blood blisters on the scrotum and genital regions.
How to treat an infected blood blister
First of all, let’s look at the signs of a normal or healthy blood blister. You cannot tell what is different in an infected blood blister unless you know how a normal one looks like:
- Resembles a bubble-like bump on the skin
- Filled with fluid, mostly blood
- Appears red or darkened
- Usually develops after skin trauma, such as due to friction
- Has a protective outer cover
- Usually painful when pressed
- Heals within 1-3 weeks under good care
Typical blood blisters will manifest the above characteristics.
Removing an infected blood blister; signs of infection
Let’s now look at the common indications that a blister is infected:
- Pus formation
- Reddening and tenderness on surrounding skin regions
- Red streaks on surrounding skin regions
- Burning sensation
- Formation of crusts
The first signs of infected blood blister occur shorty after infection. By the time you are experiencing fever and fatigue, you probably have developed cellulitis. This is a serious bacterial infection that may in fact call for hospitalization.
So far we have discussed that bacteria, mostly of staphylococcus strain, is the common cause of infected blood blisters. But what are the risk factors?
- Broken blisters – blood blisters have a protective outer layer that keeps off bacteria. Infections will rarely occur if the cover is left intact.
- Lack of antibiotics – ignoring antibacterial creams, ointments and soaps leads to severe infections. Early stages are always easier to treat.
- Lack of proper dressing – if the natural protection from the blood blister has been compromised, proper dressing ought to be applied. Bandages are mostly used in this case. It is recommended that a dressing bandage be changed on daily basis. Wearing protective gear also helps avoid tearing of normal blisters.
- Other factors – any factor that will encourage presence of bacteria on a broken blister will lead to infection. Such factors include keeping from fresh air, wet & moist conditions, walking barefooted and so on.
Antibiotics are the most powerful treatments for infected blood blisters. Mild ones are readily available over the counter. They come in form of medicated soaps, creams and ointments. Zinc oxide is a good example. Aspirin capsule can also be gargled in mouth with water for antibacterial benefits. For severe infections, prescription pills or injections will be prescribed.
It is likely that an infected blood blister will be painful and cause much discomfort. In that eventuality, your doctor will prescribe some painkillers. You can also buy them over the counter.
Moleskins, athletic tapes, bandages, silicone tapes, second skin, gloves are just some of the protective dressing options you can apply on a blood blister. For blisters that have not yet burst, they keep from external assault and chances of tearing. For broken blisters, they keep from contact with bacteria.
Antiseptics are applied to externally kill bacteria. Unlike antibiotics, they cannot be taken orally. Use of antiseptics is very important when draining a blood blister and when dressing one.
Over-exposure to sun encourages skin tissue damage. Always consider wearing sunscreen such as zinc oxide.
How to remove an infected blood blister with home remedies
At home, something can be done to contain blood blister infections. Below are some of the ways to remove infected blood blisters with home remedies:
Apply a layer of aloe Vera gel all over and around the infected region. It discourages bacterial growth and keeps from further infection.
Make a solution with water and witch hazel extract. Apply it directly. Alternatively, you can dress the infected blister with witch hazel extract directly.
Rinse the infected region with tea tree oil diluted with water. Tea tree oil kills bacteria and reduces swelling.
Make a paste with sandalwood, rose water and a bit of honey. This remedy will draw heat from a burning blood blister. The honey will soothe irritated skin and discourage bacterial growth.
Put enough turmeric powder in water to make a paste. You can use rose water if available. Dress the affected area with the paste. Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory remedy. Alternatively, turmeric powder can be taken as a solution in milk.
Crush 4 cloves of garlic and soak them in olive oil. Leave the mixture overnight. Apply it on the affected regions, 3 times a day.
Always ensure that a home remedy you are about to use will not irritate your skin. While the home remedies discussed here are relatively mild, some people have excessively sensitive skin. Consider learning more on how to take care of a blood blister to avoid infection.
When to see a doctor for infected blood blister treatments
If you happen to see the following symptoms, it is best that you get medical blood blister treatment:
- Painful, swollen and pus-filled blister
- Tender, reddened and warm skin nearby the blister
- Blister that keeps coming back
- Blisters form in clusters
- Doesn’t show signs of healing by the second week
- No possible cause can be identified
- It is not caused by skin trauma such as friction or pinching
- You have infected blood blisters on the labia, eyelid or mouth
Removal options will have better chances of succeeding if sought in time. This is especially true when other health conditions are involved.