Your blister puts your injury in the category of a second-degree" (partial thickness) burn.
Second-degree burns extend under the surface layer of skin. These burns can turn the skin blotchy white or pink or cause red patches. And they cause blisters that may ooze fluid.
Most of the time, a doctor should see any burns on the hands, face, or genitals. This is due to the fragile nature of the skin in these areas and the higher chance for infection.
Partial thickness burns that are smaller than yours can be treated at home, but I recommend that you see a doctor for any second-degree burn larger than two inches in diameter. Large blisters may need to be drained by a doctor in order to allow healing.
For now, rinse and cool your burn under a gentle stream of running water. Then apply a cold-water compress a clean towel or cloth soaked in water until the pain eases. Don't apply ice. Ice can further injure the skin. And stay away from folk remedies such as butter or mud. They increase the risk of infection.
After rinsing and cooling the burn, you can apply a burn ointment. This can prevent a dressing from sticking, but it is not necessary in most cases.
Cover the injury with a dry, sterile dressing, such as a gauze pad. Change the dressing daily, until the burn is no longer painful.
Do not break a blister on your own. This could increase the risk of infection. Because severely burned skin is not an effective barrier to infection, serious second-degree burns may need antibiotics. And because burned skin can allow fluid to evaporate from your body, a person with a very large burn area may need intravenous fluid to replace what is lost.
The pain of second-degree burns can usually be controlled with over-the-counter products such as aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin (ibuprofen). Rarely, second-degree burns may need narcotic pain medication for relief.
Other circumstances that would make it important to see a doctor for a burn include:
- Chemical contact, such as burns from gasoline or other solvents
- Large burns (involving more than 15% of the body)
- Burns to a child or elderly adult
- Blistered areas around the mouth and nose (this can suggest injury to the airway)
- Increasing redness, swelling, or drainage from the burn site after the first several days of a burn (this could indicate an infection)
Be sure to update your tetanus shot, if you have not had a booster in the last 10 years.