FIRST AID: Recognising and dealing with bruising and blisters

St John Ambulance gives advice on how to treat bruising and blisters
St John Ambulance gives advice on how to treat bruising and blisters

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St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity has teamed up with The News to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips.

Bruises occur when an injury causes blood to leak into the skin or tissues beneath the skin. They may not appear straight away but the skin can still be painful and often feel tender at first.

Elderly people and those taking anticoagulant (anti-clotting) drugs can bruise easily. What to do:

n Raise and support the injured part in a comfortable position

n Hold something cold against the injury to help reduce the swelling, like an ice pack or a frozen bag of vegetables wrapped in a tea towel for at least 10 minutes.

Blisters are fluid-filled bumps that look like bubbles on the skin. They usually form when someone’s skin repeatedly rubs against something or is exposed to heat. When someone gets a blister, the part of the skin that is damaged leaks fluid that collects under the top layer of the skin, forming the blister. What to do:

n If someone has a blister, don’t burst it as this can increase the risk of infection. Wash the skin around the blister with clean water and gently pat the skin dry with a sterile gauze pad or a clean, non-fluffy cloth. If you cannot wash the area, try to keep it as clean as possible.

n If the blister was caused by friction against the skin, cover it with a plaster but make sure the pad on the plaster is larger than the blister area. Ideally use a special blister plaster, as these have a cushioned pad that gives extra protection.

For quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website offers demo videos, an interactive game, and free advice. For more information call 0303 003 0101 or go to sja.org.uk.