When you experience a burn, it means that your skin has been damaged by heat, chemicals, electricity, friction, or radiation. If you have a burn that’s more than just a little redness on the surface of your skin, it’s important to seek medical help right away. Burns can cause serious damage to your skin and underlying tissues, so it’s important to get proper treatment to ensure healing and minimize scarring.
Burn Treatment: What Is It?
Burn treatment refers to the medical care provided to people who have sustained a burn injury. Cooling the burn is one of the most important steps in treating a burn. This helps to stop the burning process and prevents further damage to the skin. It is important to use cool water, not cold water or ice, as this can further damage the skin. Apply the cool water for at least five minutes. If you have an ice pack, apply it for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.
After cooling the burn, apply a sterile dressing to keep the area clean and protected. You can purchase sterile dressings at your local pharmacy or online. Be sure to change the dressing regularly – at least once a day – to prevent infection.
For pain relief, take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These medications can help to reduce swelling and pain associated with burns.
For minor burns, you can usually treat the burn at home with over-the-counter products like aloe vera gel or hydrocortisone cream. More serious burns may require more intensive treatment, including hospitalization, skin grafts, and physical therapy.
Classifications of burns
There are three major types of burns: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree. Each type is classified according to the depth of tissue damage.
– First-degree burns damage only the top layer of skin (epidermis). They are painful and red but do not usually blister.
– Second-degree burns damage the epidermis and the layer of skin below it (dermis). They are usually painful, red, and blistered.
– Third-degree burns damage the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. They are often painless because they destroy nerve endings. The skin may look white or charred.
When to seek medical help for a burn
If you have a burn that covers more than 3 inches or is on your face, hands, feet, groin, buttocks, or a major joint, you should seek medical help. Also, if the burn is open and oozing pus or has a charred appearance, it requires professional treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, any burn that causes blistering or charring of the skin needs to be evaluated by a doctor.
Home remedies for burns
- Applying a cool, damp cloth to the affected area
- Taking a cool bath or shower
- Using an aloe vera gel or cream
- Applying a milk compress
- Using a vinegar compress
- Putting green tea bags on the affected area
Prevention of burns
Prevention of burns is extremely important, as they can be very painful and cause permanent damage.
- Avoid exposure to hot surfaces or objects, including fire, stoves, ovens, and irons.
- Wear appropriate clothing when working with or near heat sources. Loose, natural fibers such as cotton are best.
- Keep your skin moisturized to help protect it from damage.