How To Clean And Dress Blisters For Hiking
Blisters are fairly common in hiking because of the friction. It can be caused by the generated heat when your hot and sweaty foot rubs against your sock. The moisture also tends to soften the skin. Dirt and gravel can also add more heat, thereby increasing the friction.
Having blisters can be both uncomfortable and painful. In addition, it can also cause infection if not tended properly. Since prevention is always better than cure, you can prevent blisters by taking extra precaution with these tips:
- Keep your socks dry.
- Choose shoes half a size larger to give your toes space to move.
- Pack an extra pair of socks so you can change it when your feet starts to sweat.
- Take your shoes/boot off periodically to allow your feet to breathe.
- To decrease the moisture, sprinkle foot powder or corn starch.
- Prevent a hot spot from turning into a blister by applying moleskin or petroleum jelly.
However, IF the inevitable happens and you begin to develop blisters, immediately clean and dress it. There are basically two goals for this: to disinfect the wound and to continue the hike with as little discomfort as possible.
You will need the following:
- Neosporin or any antibiotic ointment
- Needle or safety pin
- Alcohol prep pad
Before doing the following steps, make sure your hands are clean:
Remove the fluid from the blister but DO NOT PEEL THE SKIN OFF. Take your safety pin and hang on to the far end of it. Heat the pin using a lighter for about twenty to thirty seconds or until it starts to get hot.
Put the needle close to the edge of your blister. Shove the needle gently into the fluid-filled blister. Some fluid may shoot or you may need to work the fluid out of the hole.
Get the alcohol prep pad and go over the surface of the blister to disinfect the wound. Clean it gently.
Apply Neosporin on the surface of the blister.
Take a piece of cut-out foam. Trim it to fit over the top of the blister. Size it up and make sure it fits properly.
Put the foam onto the back (sticky side) of the Leukotape.
Spread some Neosporin on the foam but make sure you don’t put any ointment onto the Leukotape. Any Neosporin on the Leukotape can create problems with adherence.
Apply the foam into the blister by rolling it over a little bit. Make sure the edges are good where the foam is.
Press the tape to the skin around the blister. Don’t tear the surface of the blister off, leave it all intact.
Press real hard onto the tape. You may also touch up the sides with more Leukotape for increased adherence.
You can now continue with the hike but don’t forget to rest especially when your feet begins to sweat again.