How to Spot An Infected Blister

4 min read
How to Spot An Infected Blister How to Spot An Infected Blister How to Spot An Infected Blister

Infections can be a cause of concern in a variety of cases, including those with health concerns such as diabetes, but thankfully, an infected blister can be easily prevented and indeed treated if you have a keen eye. This is because blisters can be caused by a number of everyday activities such as walking and will usually heal and go away on their own. An infected blister on the foot can still be a major problem if the infection spreads however, as this means that bacteria has made its way to underlying tissue.

Here is how you can spot an infected blister, what you can do about it, and when you should seek medical attention.

Recognising an Infected Blister

When blisters appear on our feet, hands or other areas of our body, they do so as a sac filled with clear fluid (or perhaps blood in the case of a blood blister). Left undisturbed, these blisters will heal on their own, but from time to time they may need to be drained if they are in a part of the body that affects normal body actions (for example, a blister on the foot that makes it difficult to walk). However, popping a blister takes it from a sterile environment to a potential wound into which bacteria may enter, leading to infection, so breaking a blister should only be done on the advice of a healthcare professional

An infected blister on the foot may take on a certain appearance depending on the seriousness of the infection. Other warning signs to look out for include:

  • Warmth on or around the blister
  • Red streaks leading away from the blister
  • Drainage or pus
  • An unpleasant odour
  • The presence of pus or increased redness, swelling or tenderness
  • A fever or chills in the body
  • Swollen lymph nodes.

If you find a blister with pus on your foot or elsewhere on your body you should always seek assistance from your doctor or healthcare professional, as the blister is likely infected at this point.

When Should I Call a Doctor for an Infected Blister?

A seriously infected blister – particularly a swollen blister with pus – can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions including septic shock, which happens when certain chemicals released by your immune system trigger a chain reaction in your body. In order to avoid such complications, it’s best to visit the doctor as soon as possible. If you see red lines radiating from your wound at any time, go to the emergency room immediately.

You should also visit your doctor immediately if you experience the following:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches and/or pains
  • Swelling
  • The blister is showing no sign of healing.

Finally, if a blister forms on a person who is diabetic, pregnant or a child, seek medical advice before treatment, regardless of the size or occurrence of the blister.

All in all, a bit of swelling shouldn’t trouble you, but you should always monitor an infected blister in case complications arise.