Blister (Child)

A blister is a raised area of skin with watery fluid inside. A blister can happen when the skin is damaged. Blisters can hurt when they are pressed, or if they break open.

Blisters in children can be caused by many things. They can happen if the skin is rubbed too hard or often. Or they can happen if the skin is hurt by the sun, a virus or other infection, an allergic reaction such as poison ivy, or even a medicine. Babies who are breastfeeding can have sucking blisters (sucking pads or calluses) on the inside of their lips. Babies can also have sucking blisters on their fingers or hands soon after birth. These blisters started in the mother’s womb.

Most blisters need little treatment. They often dry up and go away in a few days to weeks after the cause is addressed. A blister may need to be cleaned. A broken (open) blister may be bandaged to prevent infection. Blisters caused by insect bites or drug reactions may be more serious. These should be looked at by a healthcare provider.

Home care

The healthcare provider may prescribe pain medicine. He or she may also prescribe an antibiotic cream or ointment to put on an open blister. Follow all instructions when using these medicines.

General care

  • Follow all instructions on how to care for the blister. If a bandage was put on, change the bandage as instructed. Children have sensitive skin that can be easily damaged by sticky bandages.

  • If the blister breaks, the area will leak a clear fluid for a day or two. Wash the area with soap and water every day or as advised by your child’s healthcare provider.

  • If your baby has lip blisters, keep feeding him or her as usual. As your child’s lips get used to sucking, they will heal. This may take up to a few months.

  • Make sure a baby with mouth blisters takes in enough fluids. This is to prevent dehydration. Talk with your provider if your baby is not getting enough fluids.

  • If your child gets blisters often, talk with your provider about how to prevent them. Dress him or her in clothes that are loose and don’t rub. Have your child avoid the sun.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever (See Fever and children, below)

  • Redness or swelling that is new or gets worse

  • Foul-smelling fluid leaking from the blister

  • Pain doesn’t go away, or gets worse

  • Blister gets bigger

  • Blister doesn’t get better after several days

  • Your child develops blisters more often than you expect

Fever and children

Use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Don’t use a mercury thermometer. There are different kinds of digital thermometers. They include ones for the mouth, ear, forehead (temporal), rectum, or armpit. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Use a rectal thermometer with care. It may accidentally poke a hole in the rectum. It may pass on germs from the stool. Follow the product maker’s directions for correct use. If you don’t feel okay using a rectal thermometer, use another type. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which type you used.

Below are guidelines to know if your child has a fever. Your child’s healthcare provider may give you different numbers for your child.

A baby under 3 months old:

  • First, ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead: 100.4°F (38°C) or higher

  • Armpit: 99°F (37.2°C) or higher

A child age 3 months to 36 months (3 years):

  • Rectal, forehead, or ear: 102°F (38.9°C) or higher

  • Armpit: 101°F (38.3°C) or higher

Call the healthcare provider in these cases:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under age 2

  • Fever that lasts for 3 days in a child age 2 or older

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