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What is a Vesicular Lesion?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 03, 2024
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A vesicular lesion is a blister on the skin or another organ. Friction, burns, chemical exposure, and infections can all cause vesicular lesions of various shapes and sizes. The blister may resolve on its own with time or could require treatment, depending on the cause of the lesion. Patients with large lesions that do not go away, increase in number, or appear to change in color or shape should see a dermatologist or doctor for evaluation.

A classic vesicular lesion consists of a thin bubble of fluid under the skin. The lesion may crackle or pop if it is large, and patients can experience pain and discomfort. The surrounding area may be red and hot, indicative of inflammation. If the blister ruptures, it will leak white, clear, or yellow fluid and expose the underlying skin. Premature rupture can expose patients to the risk of infection because the skin underneath is not fully healed.

Friction is a common cause of a vesicular lesion. People breaking in new shoes or using tools they are not familiar with may notice a few blisters at the end of the day. Burns and chemical exposures are another cause. It is important to flush the skin after such injuries and to avoid picking at any lesions that appear, as they protect the skin while it heals. If a blister is especially large or painful, a doctor can treat it in sterile conditions to drain off the fluid and make the patient feel more comfortable.

Infections are another likely cause, in which case the patient needs treatment for the infection to resolve the problem. Herpes viruses like chicken pox and genital herpes are commonly associated with vesicular lesions. Patients can also develop this type of lesion in response to infections with other microbes like parasites. A doctor will need to examine the lesion and run some tests to find out what is happening and prescribe an appropriate medication to treat the infection.

Managing this condition can be hard, because patients often want to pick or scratch. There are topical preparations available to soothe itching and burning. Some patients may find it helpful to soak in a bathtub with baking soda when the itching becomes severe. Bandaging is another option, as is wearing gloves to prevent picking. Picking can expose patients to the risk of infection and scarring. In the case of young patients who do not understand the concerns, it can help to provide distractions to prevent scratching.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By croydon — On Oct 16, 2011

@umbra21 - I imagine it's not so much where your clothes fit tightly, as places where they are rubbing hard against your skin as you run. I used to get them on my chest from my bra. Eventually, I just realized I needed to get a new bra. A proper sports one, which is designed to be used for running and fits properly.

Even blisters on your feet shouldn't really be there if you are wearing proper, thick sport socks. Yes, if you are running a marathon you've got to expect blisters, but if you are going for shorter runs for weight loss, you won't get them with the proper gear.

If you need to, go and talk to someone at a gym, or a sports shop and ask them for advice on what you need to get.

By umbra21 — On Oct 15, 2011

I've been trying to lose weight, by running every day. I knew that it would be difficult, but what I didn't expect was that I seem to have to fight against vesicular lesions more than almost anything else.

I mean, I expected to get them on my feet, and in fact I haven't had them all that bad. Blisters on your feet are annoying, particularly when you want to run, but they harden up pretty quickly.

But, I've had them in other places too! Especially now that I run quite a distance. I've had them on places where my clothes fit tightly.

I guess I just have sensitive skin, but it is quite painful. Is there anything I can do to stop it?

By irontoenail — On Oct 14, 2011

I had the very worst blisters of my life when I was a kid living in Colorado. I was not used to the kinds of summers they have there, and one of my friends invited me to the swimming pool for the day.

Her parents didn't bother to make sure I had sunscreen on, and I ended up with very severe sunburn. I had vesicular lesions the size of my fists by that night and I was feeling so ill I remember my mother thought she would have to take me to hospital.

Basically, I just had to sleep on my stomach for a long time and they resolved themselves. Which was not a pleasant process in itself, let me tell you.

So, if you've got kids who are heading out for a day at the pool, you should slather them with sunscreen. They might not thank you for it, but it sure beats the alternative.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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