Minor burns such as getting sunburns from staying out in the sun for too long without sunscreen or hot oil spillage while cooking can happen from time to time if you are not careful. These can cause minor burns which can be treated at home.
There are several degrees of burns. The higher the number, the more serious it is and needs urgent medical care.
First-degree burns affect only on the top layer of the skin. The skin can turn red, swell, it can be discomforting and mildly painful. Second-degree burns go one layer deeper than first-degree burns. The skin will have blisters and it will be painful. Swelling and redness will also occur.
To treat the burn, first of all, calm and reassure the person who is burned. If clothing is not stuck to the burn, remove it. Remove rings or other tight items from the burned area. Try to do this quickly and gently, before the area swells.
If the burn is caused by chemicals, take off all clothes that have the chemical on them.
Use cold water to cool the burn. Do not use ice as the extreme cold from ice can injure the tissue even more.
If possible, particularly if the burn is caused by chemicals, hold the burned skin under cool running water for 10 to 15 minutes until it does not hurt as much. Use a sink, shower, or garden hose.
If that is not possible then put a cold, clean wet cloth on the burn, or soak the burn in a cold-water bath for five minutes.
Don't break blisters. Fluid-filled blisters protect against infection. An opened blister can get infected. If a blister breaks, clean the area with water (mild soap is optional). Apply an antibiotic ointment. But if a rash appears, stop using the ointment.
Once a burn is completely cooled, you may put a thin layer of ointments such as petroleum jelly or aloe vera on the burn. This helps prevent drying and provides relief. The ointment does not need to have antibiotics in it. Some antibiotic ointments can cause an allergic reaction. Do not use cream, lotion, oil, cortisone, butter, or egg white.
Bandage the burn. Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage (not fluffy cotton). Wrap it loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin. Bandaging keeps air off the area, reduces pain and protects blistered skin. Change the dressing once a day.
If needed, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advel, Flamex), naproxen sodium (Anaflex, Naprox) or acetaminophen (Tamenol) and aspirin (Disprin).
Minor burns could take up to three weeks to heal. It can itch as it heals. Do not scratch it.
The deeper the burn, the more likely it is to scar. If the burn appears to be developing a scar, call your health care provider for advice.