Burn blisters are large blisters that occur as a result of a second degree burn which means that the burn has gone through the epidermis and to the dermis below. It causes the thin remaining layer of skin to fill with something called ‘serum’ which is a watery liquid that comes from the nearby cells and blood vessels that have been destroyed. This then creates a ‘pillow’ of protection for the exposed dermis layer.
Treating Burn Blisters
Immediately following a second degree burn you should soak the area in cold water for 15 minutes – do not use ice or extremely cold water as this can cause further tissue damage. You can accomplish this by using a cool wet cloth, and it doesn’t hurt to continue to soak the burn for a few minutes on a regular basis. Use an antibiotic cream to prevent infection.
If you get a burn blister it is important not to burst it despite it being common practice. Bursting a burn blister may cause infection and can expose the skin beneath. A doctor may in severe cases opt to ‘de-roof’ a blister, but otherwise you should leave the blister. Eventually the skin will absorb the surrounding fluids and the blister will disappear. This tends to take about two weeks and in the meantime you should avoid using that area to prevent damage and use a plaster or bandage to protect it. Do not apply moisturizer or any other kind of treatment yourself – the body is remarkable at healing itself. You may use oral analgesics to treat any pain or discomfort.
If the blister persists after two weeks, if it is very large or on the face, or if you see any signs of infection then you should see a doctor immediately.