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What Are the Causes of Skin Blisters?

What Are the Causes of Skin Blisters? What Are the Causes of Skin Blisters?

A blister is a fluid-filled sac that develops on the surface layer of the skin due to an infection in the body or direct contact with an irritating substance. According to MedlinePlus, blisters can range in size from extremely small to up to 10-mm wide. If a blister breaks, it can release fluid onto the skin and cause dry crusts to develop.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by direct contact with an irritating substance. Swelling of the skin is accompanied by a red, itchy rash and fluid-filled blisters. Dry, red patches that cause pain and tenderness may also develop in affected areas, according to MayoClinic.com. Common irritants that can cause contact dermatitis include poison oak, poison ivy, cleaning products, harsh soaps, detergents, certain metals, perfume, lotions and clothing.

Most cases of contact dermatitis can be treated with avoidance of the irritant and the application of topical hydrocortisone creams. If the dermatitis is widespread or extremely bothersome, oral corticosteroids and antihistamines may be prescribed to reduce swelling and irritation.

Shingles

Shingles is a skin infection characterized by painful blisters on the surface of the skin. After a person gets chickenpox, the virus varicella-zoster remains dormant in the nerves of the body. Shingles occurs when the virus becomes reactivated, according to MedlinePlus. In addition to painful skin blisters, other symptoms of shingles include abdominal pain, chills, drooping eyelid, fever, chills, malaise, headache, joint pain, swollen glands and vision problems.

Shingles can usually be treated with oral anti-viral medication. MedlinePlus notes that, ideally, medications should be started within 24 hours of the onset of initial symptoms. Corticosteroids, antihistamines and pain medication can be used in conjunction with the anti-viral medication to reduce the severity of symptoms.

Herpes Simplex

Herpes simplex is a viral skin infection characterized by blisters and sores on the body, especially around the mouth, nose, genitals and buttocks, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Two types of herpes simplex exist: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 herpes simplex affects the face and mouth, whereas type 2 herpes simplex affects the genitals and buttocks. Type 1 herpes simplex is generally contracted during infancy or childhood through contact with those who carry the virus. Type 2 herpes simplex is usually caused by sexual contact with an infected individual.

The American Academy of Dermatology notes that 20 percent of all sexually active Americans carry type 2 herpes simplex. Outbreaks of herpes simplex can be treated with anti-viral medications that reduce severity of symptoms and the possibility of spreading the infection; however, herpes simplex cannot be cured.

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