Popping a Fever Blister

Blonde woman wearing fluffy jumper
A woman hides a fever blister on her lip with her sweater. (Image: Elizabeth Livermore/Moment/Getty Images)

The Academy of General Dentistry reports that 30 percent of Americans suffer from fever blisters, which are sometimes also referred to as cold sores or oral herpes. A fever blister usually ruptures spontaneously after four days, leaving behind a shallow pink ulcer that “weeps” highly infectious clear fluid. Popping a fever won’t make it heal faster, but some people do it for cosmetic reasons. Since fever blisters are highly contagious, you should take care to dispose of your tools when you are done.

Sterilize Pin or Needle

Step 1

Wash hands with soap and water. Dry with a clean towel.

Step 2

Open a package of sterile gauze. Set it aside, handling only the edges.

Step 3

Light a candle or the burner of a gas stove.

Step 4

Sterilize the pin or needle by exposing it to an open flame until it glows.

Step 5

Place the pin or needle on the gauze for later use.

Pop the Fever Blister

Step 1

Clean the fever blister with mild cleanser and water. Pat it dry with a clean towel.

Step 2

Apply the pin to the blister until it pops. Discard it.

Step 3

Blot the resultant fluid with gauze. Discard it. If the lesion continues to produce enough fluid to produce a drip, keep it covered with a bandage until the fluid flow decreases.

Step 4

Wash and dry your hands.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety pin, sewing pin or fine sewing needle

  • Sterile gauze

  • Candle and match or gas stove

  • Bandage

Tip

The Academy of General Dentistry recommends applying a lip balm with aloe vera three times per day to promote healing and reduce the risk of secondary bacterial infections. In the 2008 edition of “Fizpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine,” National Institutes of Health dermatologist Stephen E. Straus recommends keeping skin clean and dry using mild cleansers. Relieve pain or itching from fever blisters with over-the-counter products that contain topical analgesics such as benzocaine, lidocaine, tetracaine, benzyl alcohol or camphor.

Warning

Fluid from a fever blister is highly infectious. Use a single-use applicator or wash your hands before and after applying lip balm or other cosmetics. According to Straus, people can spread the virus that causes fever blisters even when they are not symptomatic. Do not share cosmetics or personal care products with another person, even when you are not symptomatic. Avoid picking or playing with fever blisters to decrease the risk of scarring.

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