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Good Question: What Are Blisters?

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — They’re a nuisance, they’re uncomfortable and they seem to pop up this time of year.

Whether you are running, gardening or golfing, chances are good you’ll get a blister at some point.

Lisa Haralson of Litchfield and her niece acquired some nasty blister bubbles while gardening this past weekend. A couple have already popped.

“I didn’t understand how the rubbing of the hands on a piece of plastic or wood would be able to blister and why,” Haralson said.

Dr. Debra Scherman is with Fairview Clinics and she specializes in skin care. She says for some people, blisters are a rite of spring.

“What’s happened is that you’ve taken a part of the skin that wasn’t conditioned, didn’t have a callous or anything, you did a new activity and really traumatized it,” Scherman said.

She says it’s the top layer of your skin that’s rising and filling with fluid. It’s actually a safety net for the new skin underneath.

“One little layer of that skin layer elevates and forms a fluid that creates a cushion to protect it,” she said.

And if you’ve ever wondered if it’s OK to pop a blister, the answer is “yes,” as long as it isn’t too painful and you don’t have a serious medical condition.

“Then I would just take a needle from the edge of the blister and pop it, OK. But leave it intact, don’t take off the loose skin because that’s going to protect that new skin underneath,” Scherman said.

That goes for your hands and feet. Dr. Scherman says within a couple days, your friction blister will heal.

Mole skin is also something that can be used to cover your popped blister.

Dr. Scherman recommends cleaning a popped blister with soap and water, not other chemicals. They would irritate the skin while it’s trying to heal.

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