A bulla is a sac or lesion that is filled with fluid which develops if fluid is trapped beneath a thin skin layer which is considered as a form of blister. For a blister to be categorized as a bulla, it should be bigger than 0.5 centimeters in size.
What are the indications?
It is easy to pinpoint if an individual has a bulla or bullae. The affected skin is usually slightly elevated with clear fluid within.
In case the bulla is infected, the liquid within has a milky appearance. If the bulla is due to trauma, it might include blood.
When to consult a doctor
A doctor should be seen if the bulla is painful or limits movement or if it includes blood.
If the individual has diabetes or circulatory issues, a doctor must be consulted as well. Remember that these conditions increase the risk for the bulla to be infected.
Oftentimes, a bulla forms as a response to certain medications or accompanied by fever. In such cases, prompt medical care is needed.
There are various treatment options for a bulla which is based on the root cause and if drainage is necessary.
A bulla caused by friction typically heals on its own if left alone. Apply a protective bandage over the site to prevent further irritation or making it worse. Ideally, a gauze pad should be used since the fabric absorbs moisture while allowing the bulla to breathe.
Do not attempt to pop or burst the blister on your own. If the skin is opened to drain the bulla, there is a high risk of introducing bacteria into the wound. This can result to an infection or make the condition worse.
In case a bulla requires drainage, the doctor should be the one to perform the procedure to lower the risk for an infection.
At the doctor’s clinic, the site is swabbed with a cleanser to get rid of any bacteria or dirt. The blister is punctured with a sterile instrument.
Once the blister is completely drained, the doctor will place a dry bandage on the site. After a few days, the individual might choose to remove the skin covering the bulla if it has already dried. Clean a pair of scissors with iodine and use it to remove the excess skin if it is no longer attached firmly.