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Vesicles

Blisters

 

A vesicle is a small fluid-filled blister.

Considerations

 

A vesicle is small -- it may be as tiny as the top of a pin or up to 5 or 10 millimeters wide.

In many cases, vesicles break easily and release their fluid onto the skin. When this fluid dries, yellow crusts may remain on the skin surface.

 

Causes

 

Many diseases and conditions can cause vesicles. Common examples include:

  • Allergic reactions to drugs
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Autoimmune disorders such as bullous pemphigoid or pemphigus
  • Blistering skin diseases including porphyria cutanea tarda and dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Chicken pox
  • Contact dermatitis (may be caused by poison ivy)
  • Herpes simplex (cold sores, genital herpes)
  • Herpes zoster (shingles)
  • Impetigo

 

Home Care

 

It is best to have your health care provider examine any skin rashes, including vesicles.

Over-the-counter treatments are available for certain conditions that cause vesicles, including poison ivy and cold sores.

 

 

Call your doctor if you have any unexplained blisters on your skin.

 

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

 

Your doctor will look at your skin. Some vesicules can be diagnosed simply by how they look.

In many cases, however, additional tests are needed. The fluid inside a blister may be sent to a lab for closer examination. In particularly difficult cases, a skin biopsy may be needed to make or confirm a diagnosis.

 

 

References

High WA, Tomasini CF, Argenziano G, Zalaudek I. Basic principles of dermatology. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 1.

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  • Poison ivy on the leg

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  • Vesicles

    Vesicles

    illustration

    • Bullous pemphigoid, close-up of tense blisters

      Bullous pemphigoid, clos...

      illustration

    • Chigger bite - close-up of blisters

      Chigger bite - close-up ...

      illustration

    • Hand, foot, and mouth disease on the soles

      Hand, foot, and mouth di...

      illustration

    • Herpes simplex - close-up

      Herpes simplex - close-u...

      illustration

    • Herpes zoster (shingles) - close-up of lesion

      Herpes zoster (shingles)...

      illustration

    • Poison ivy on the knee

      Poison ivy on the knee

      illustration

    • Poison ivy on the leg

      Poison ivy on the leg

      illustration

    • Vesicles

      Vesicles

      illustration

     

    Review Date: 4/14/2013

    Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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