Some people just love the outdoors – if it’s hiking, exercising or simply enjoying the view.. Many adventurers both new to the hobby and seasoned ones come to Belize to experience our adventures. Unfortunately, you can start off having a wonderful journey when all of a sudden things can take a turn for the worst…you feel a blister coming on!
Blisters can be small or large and extremely painful. We have put together some tips for caring for blisters and tricks to avoid them because we want you to have the most enjoyable vacation in Belize possible.
What Causes Blisters?
Blisters are caused by friction, heat, dirt and moisture.
Tips to Prevent & Minimize Growth of Blisters:
- Break in your new shoes! You need to give your shoes time to conform to the shape of your foot. Be sure to wear the right shoes.
- If your shoes start feeling too warm and uncomfortable take them off.
- Let your feet cool down and dry out.
- If you need to keep walking, cover the area with moleskin, zinc oxide tape or a bandage to reduce the heat and friction on the area.
Caring for Blisters:
- Clean around the area carefully using warm water and soap.
- Decide if you will drain the blister or let it heal on its own. Rule of thumb: if the blister does not make walking painful then let it heal on its own.
- Draining the blister: sterilize a needle with alcohol or boiling water or use a pre-sterilized medical hypodermic needle.
- Carefully insert the needle at the side and base and allow all the liquid to drain.
- Do not remove the loose skin that covers your blister because this leaves the area open to infection.
- Apply povidone-iodine antiseptic to the blister. This may sting slightly but this ensures the site doesn’t get infected now that it’s open.
- Use gauze bandage, plaster, mole skin or other protective material to cover the blister. Use one that has a low-adherent or non-adherent dressing so that it is easier to change the dressing without disturbing the healing skin underneath.
- Be sure to remove bandage if you are not moving around so that the injured area gets as much open air as possible.
- Check the blister daily, keep it clean and continue to apply iodine antiseptic.
NOTE: Do not use duct tape! It is not intended for use on human skin and can further damage the blister or surrounding areas. Think about gripping the blister skin and tearing it with a pair of pliers – that’s what duct tape will do to you.
- Do not use the method of putting a thread through the blister this could quickly cause infection.
- Try not to detach the skin that covers the blister. It offers natural protection for the raw skin underneath. If you must remove the loose skin, do so with sterile or sterilized scissors or a scalpel. Do not pull at loose skin (pulling will also make it hurt much more.)
- Urine is a less painful (though arguably less appealing) rubbing method alternative. However, this may be all you have if you are back country.
- Aloe Vera is also an effective way to heal the blister throughout. Just rub some on the blistered area with the aloe vera and it should go away in a couple of days to a week.
- An alternative treatment is to buy a special blister plaster and put in onto the blister. This is medicated and will dry the blister, so you may not need to take any further action, though they are often unsuitable for further activity and will break or detach, possibly causing further skin damage if friction is applied.
When to see a Doctor:
- If your blister has excessive amounts of pus draining from it, starts to smell or becomes red – this means that it has gotten infected.
- If your blister contains blood – the injury is more serious and may have hit some capillaries. Proceed with caution if you will or let a doctor handle it.