Careful wound care and good nutrition are essential for people with epidermolysis bullosa. Blisters can lead to scarring, infection and deformity. Your doctor can show you how to care for blisters properly and advise you on ways to prevent them.
If blisters are left intact, they can enlarge, which creates a bigger wound when they finally break. Talk to your doctor about safe ways for you to break and drain blisters before they get too large. Your doctor can also recommend products to use to keep the affected areas moist to promote healing, such as gauze that contains a moisturizing agent, and prevent infection.
When tending to your child's wounds:
- Wash your hands before touching your child's blisters or changing dressings.
- If a soiled dressing sticks, don't pull it off. Soak the area in warm water until the dressing loosens.
Easing the pain of blisters and wound care:
- Nonprescription pain medications, take orally or apply to dressings
Caring for skin and dressing wounds
Careful wound care can help healing and prevent infection. Your doctor may recommend the following tips for treating blisters and raw skin:
- Control pain. About 30 minutes before a dressing change or other painful procedure, older children and adults may take a prescription-strength pain medication. For people who don't respond to pain relievers, other options include anti-seizure drugs such as gabapentin and pregabalin.
- Cleanse skin daily. To cleanse a wound, soak it for five to 10 minutes in a mild solution of salt and water. Other options are mild solutions of diluted vinegar or bleach. Soaking also helps reduce the pain of changing bandages. Rinse with lukewarm water.
- Puncture new blisters. This prevents them from spreading. Use a sterile needle to puncture the blister in two spots. But leave the roof of the blisters intact to allow for drainage while protecting the underlying skin.
Apply creams or lotions and cover with dressings. Use antibiotic ointment, petroleum jelly or other moisturizing substance. Then cover the area with a special nonsticking bandage (Mepilex, PolyMem, others). If you use antibiotic creams for a long time, rotate the type you use each month.
You can choose from a wide variety of dressings, based on the type of eipdermoylis bullosa you're dealing with, the size and location of the wounds, availability, and cost. You may need to hold dressings in place with rolled gauze.
- Wrap blistered hands and feet daily. With some severe forms of this condition, daily wraps help prevent deformities and fusion of the fingers and toes. Special wraps (Mepitel, others) and gauze dressings (Vaseline Petrolatum Gauze Strip, others) are useful for this treatment.
If blisters in the mouth or throat make it difficult for your child to eat, here are some suggestions:
Aug. 22, 2014
- If your infant develops blisters from breast-feeding or bottle-feeding, apply an oral gel to relieve pain. You might also try nipples designed for premature infants, a syringe or a rubber-tipped medicine dropper.
- For older children, serve nutritious, soft foods that are easy to swallow, such as vegetable soup and fruit smoothies. Puree solid foods with broth or milk.
- Serve nutritious foods that are easy to swallow, such as vegetable soups and fruit smoothies.
- Serve food and beverages lukewarm, at room temperature or cold.
- Talk with your doctor about using supplements to minimize nutrient and vitamin deficiencies.
- Fine JD, et al. Inherited epidermolysis bullosa: Updated recommendations on diagnosis and classification. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. In press. Accessed April 9, 2014.
- Pickert A, et al. Immunodermatology and blistering disorders. Journal of American Academy of Dermatology. 2013;68:AB110.
- Pride HB, et al. What's new in pediatric dermatology? Part 1. Diagnosis and pathogenesis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2013;68:885.e2.
- Brick K, et al. Epidermolysis bullosa pruriginosa: Further clarification of the phenotype. Pediatric Dermatology. 2012;29:732.
- Lehman JS, et al. Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita: Concise review and practical considerations. International Journal of Dermatology. 2009;48:227.
- Epidermolysis bullosa. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Epidermolysis_Bullosa/. Accessed April 10, 2014.
- About EB. Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America. http://www.debra.org/abouteb. Accessed April 10, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. Pemphigoid. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Lebwohl MG. Treatment of Skin Disease. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 10, 2014.
- Pope E, et al. A consensus approach to wound care in epidermolysis bullosa. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2010;67:904.
- Gonzalez ME. Evaluation and treatment of the newborn with epidermolysis bullosa. Seminars in Perinatology. 2013;37:32.
- Lakdawala N, et al. The role of nutrition in dermatologic diseases: Facts and controversies. Clinics in Dermatology. 2013;31:677.
- Jurj G, et al. Epidermolysis bullosa: Report of three cases treated with homeopathy. Homeopathy. 2011;100:264.
- Healthcare problems. Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association. http://www.debra.org/healthcare. Accessed June 10, 2011. Accessed April 10, 2014.
- Hand JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 8, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.