If you are a healthy individual then you can easily treat blisters with simple first aid and home care; however, those with diabetes or weakened immune systems should call their dermatologist for treatment. Even minor skin injuries such as blisters can lead to an infection if you have certain preexisting conditions.
To treat a blister at home here are some helpful tips:
Cover the area: Just as you would place protective padding over a bunion or a callus, you should do the same for a blister. This will provide an additional layer of protection to prevent shoes or clothes from rubbing against the blister to make it worse.
Don’t pop the blister: We know that it might be tempting to pop the blister but it’s best just to leave it alone and to let your body heal it naturally; however, we also understand that the blister may be large, painful, or in an awkward place and you may need to drain it. In this case, make sure to thoroughly sterilize a needle with alcohol before gently piercing the blister so that it can drain.
Clean the area: If you do decide to drain the blister yourself, it’s important that you keep the area as clean as possible afterward to prevent infection. This means cleaning the area with soap and water after draining it.
When to See a Doctor
In some cases, a blister may need to be treated by a medical professional; more specifically, a dermatologist. If the blister doesn’t get better in a few days or shows signs of infection, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you develop clusters or several blisters on your body, along with other symptoms such as fever and pain, these could be signs of a viral infection, skin disease, or autoimmune disorder. Conditions such as impetigo, herpes zoster, and dermatitis herpetiformis can also cause blisters.
If you are dealing with a painful or infected blister, or if you have diabetes, it’s important that you turn to a dermatologist right away for treatment to prevent complications.
What causes a carbuncle?
Most of the time, bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus are to blame for carbuncles. This bacteria is already present on the skin, but can easily get into a hair follicle through a cut or opening. Since a carbuncle is the result of a bacterial infection, the infection can be spread to others by sharing items such as towels or through skin-to-skin contact. It’s important to cover the area and keep it clean so that it heals properly.
Who is at risk for carbuncles?
There are many risk factors that can cause someone to be prone to carbuncles. These risk factors include:
- Chronic skin problems
- Older age
- Poor hygiene
- Liver disease
- A weakened immune system
How should I treat a carbuncle?
It is important that you do not pick at or squeeze the bump, as this can spread the infection even further or lead to scarring. Apply warm compresses to the area several times a day. Make sure to keep the area clean (wash with soap and water) and cover the area. Since heat can help to facilitate natural drainage, you may want to use a heating pad on the area for up 20 minutes at a time.
Should I see a dermatologist?
Since there are many infections and conditions that can lead to painful bumps and growths, it’s important that you see a dermatologist if you’ve never been diagnosed with a carbuncle before. If the carbuncle doesn’t drain after a few days or if it’s very painful or in a sensitive area such as the nose or eyes, it’s important that you see your dermatologist right away so they can drain it and properly treat it.
If you are dealing with any new or worsening bumps or growths on the skin that have you concerned, know that a dermatologist is going to be the best specialist to turn to for diagnosis and treatment. When in doubt, call your dermatologist to schedule an evaluation.
What does an actinic keratosis look like?
These small, scaly flat patches of skin are often felt before they are seen. They can be flesh-colored, white, tan, or pink and most often show up on sun-exposed areas of the skin such as the lips, ears, hands, face, or shoulders. Since most squamous cell carcinomas begin as actinic keratosis (AK), it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist if you are concerned that you might have actinic keratosis.
Am I at risk?
If you have a history of unprotected sun exposure or exposure to artificial UV light (e.g. tanning beds), if you are fair-skinned, or if you have a family history of actinic keratosis, it’s a good idea to examine your body and face once a month to keep tabs on any changes you may see. You should also see a dermatologist once a year for a comprehensive checkup and skin cancer screening.
What can I do to protect myself?
One of the best ways to reduce your risk for actinic keratosis is to limit sun exposure and to wear a full-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Make sure you are also wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses if you do plan to spend any time out in the sun.
How is actinic keratosis treated?
The good news is that your dermatologist caught your actinic keratosis before it had a chance to turn into a squamous cell carcinoma, which also means removing this precancerous patch is quick and easy. Actinic keratosis may be treated with cryotherapy (to freeze off the lesion), topical medication, or laser therapy. Your dermatologist will discuss the best way to remove your actinic keratosis. Since actinic keratosis can come back, it’s important that you come in at least once a year for a skin exam.
What is seborrheic dermatitis?
This condition can affect both children and adults. This problem may first begin in infants. This scaly skin that develops on your infant’s head is also referred to as cradle cap. As an adult, seborrheic dermatitis can also affect the ears, nose, and eyebrows, as well as the armpits and groin. This scaly rash may also be itchy.
What causes it?
While the cause is still unknown certain things might trigger or cause a flare-up. This includes everything from stress and genetics to certain medical conditions and living in cold, dry climates.
Who is at risk for developing seborrheic dermatitis?
Newborns are more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis; however, adults between the ages of 30-60 are also at risk. Some risk factors that can raise your risk as an adult include:
- Oily skin
While there is no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, the good news is that sometimes this condition clears up on its own without treatment. If you are dealing with persistent or severe flare-ups, then it’s time to talk with a dermatologist about ways to better control your symptoms.
How is it treated?
A dermatologist will start with simple, conservative treatment options such as topical medications, lotions, creams, or shampoos that contain ingredients such as coal tar, salicylic acid, or zinc pyrithione. If your baby is dealing with seborrheic dermatitis, make sure you talk to the child’s pediatrician before you use anything on their scalp.
Sometimes sulfur-based skincare products or corticosteroid creams are prescribed by a dermatologist to treat more severe flare-ups that aren’t responding to over-the-counter treatment options.
If you are experiencing symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, it’s always a good idea to turn to a dermatologist who is qualified to properly evaluate, diagnose, and treat any conditions impacting the skin, nails, or hair. Turn to a dermatologist today for the treatment and care you need to get seborrheic dermatitis under control.
Although there is no cure for Shingles, antiviral medication can shorten the duration of the illness. Acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are typical antiviral treatments that are most effective when taken as soon as a rash appears. Contact a dermatologist or other physician right away if you think you might have Shingles or within three days of receiving a rash. Delay in or lack of medical treatment can cause complications such as nerve pain called Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN) after the rash has healed. An affliction in or near the eye could lead to blindness if not cared for by an ophthalmologist.
In addition, the pain that accompanies the rash is extremely uncomfortable and can impede your everyday functions. Ibuprofens can help alleviate pain; however, the following methods can also provide some relief and promote faster healing:
- Take a cool or lukewarm bath with oatmeal
- Reduce stress with a relaxing activity
- Apply cool compresses
- Use Calamine lotion
- Keep the rash dry by applying corn starch or baking soda
- Wear loose clothing
Although Shingles can be quite debilitating and painful, keep in mind that it is treatable. The sooner you seek medical care, the sooner you can shorten its duration, avoid further complications, and speed recovery. Adhere to the following guidelines if you suspect or know for sure you have contracted the Shingles virus:
- Contact your physician right away
- Take the prescribed dosage of antiviral medication without delay
- Follow any instructions given for ease of rash pain
- Avoid contact with vulnerable groups while the rash is still present
- Tell your doctor if you continue to have pain.
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