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How to prevent and treat blisters

There’s nothing better than hiking or backpacking in the great outdoors, but a blister can quickly ruin your day. Here are tips for how to avoid getting blisters and how to treat them.

Some of the most common causes of blisters:

  • Walking around with wet feet.
  • Wearing boots that are too big and rub against your skin.
  • Wearing brand new boots on the trail.

To prevent getting blisters from wet feet, always pack an extra pair of socks. You can also pack some foot powder to keep your feet dry.

Before buying new hiking boots, make sure they fit right and snug while wearing a good pair of socks so they won’t rub your feet raw on the trail. Then, make sure you break them in by wearing them a while before going on a hike.

On every hike, you or someone on the trip just bring the following blister prevention and treatment items:

  • Alcohol wipes for disinfecting a popped blister.
  • Safety pin and matches if it becomes necessary to pop a blister. The match is used to disinfect the needle.
  • Foot powder for keeping feet dry.
  • Petroleum jelly, for reducing friction around tender skin.
  • Duct tape for covering tender skin or holding bandages in place.
  • Pocketknife with scissors
  • Moleskin pads

Most blisters start as a “hot spot,” a red tender spot on the skin. If you treat a hot spot early, you can prevent it from forming a blister. Just use your scissors to cut a hole the size of the hot spot with a piece of moleskin, and use it to encircle the blister. Duct tape can also be used to cover the tender area. It’s a good idea to apply petroleum jelly or another ointment to the hot spot to help reduce friction.

Once a blister forms, you may want to call it a day. But, if you have to keep moving and the blister is too painful, you might need to drain the fluid. Just make sure to sterilize the needle and keep the blister clean.

10 Comments on How to prevent and treat blisters

  1. I use adventure cream whenever I feel a hot spot coming on, and it prevents it from turning into a blister… it’s some sweet stuff.

  2. Anonymous // June 2, 2016 at 7:27 am // Reply

    I have heard that duck tape works well for a one day hike, but don’t leave it on for a long period of time. I have heard, but have not use, fingernail polish on hot spots to prevent them from turning into blisters.

  3. the dude // May 4, 2015 at 5:19 pm // Reply

    i needed to know that

  4. Nice to read. Because my dad told me the same advice now see what a smart man my dad is …got blisters from a hike and dad told me how to fix the problem…yes and you have similar advice 👍 good job

  5. I’m going on a survival campout this weekend, and this was very helpful to me, as I blister a lot on campouts. I am definitely updating my first-aid kit.

  6. I got one on my toe

  7. duct tape works great on blisters and warts

  8. cool did not know that. you made it funny to.

  9. Cool!

  10. May be helpful at some point. I have one on my palm but I don’t know what to do about it.

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