Medical Advice

Prevention and Treatment of Burns

A person’s skin can suffer burns from various causes. The most common are accidents involve direct contact with liquids or hot objects, chemicals, steam, electricity, heat or prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Skin model-2 burns labeled

Treatment depending on the type of burns

– Type I burns – are the easiest type of burns that a person may experience and involve damage to the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis. Your skin will be reddened, painful and swollen. If the first-degree burn has not affected a large area of skin, it can be treated at home.
– Second-degree burns – are those in which the second layer of skin (hypodermis) is injured. In case of this kind of burns, the skin will be red with spots and on the burning areas vesicles will be present. Second-degree burns cause pain and inflammation. If a person experiences a small second-degree burn it can be treated at home, but if the area burnt is extensive or involves hands, feet, the face, the groin, buttocks or a major joint, you will have to go to the doctor or hospital for professional care.
– Third degree burns – involve all layers of the skin and possibly localized structures under the skin. Some areas are often black, charred. The pain may be severe, but if a nerve has been damaged due to burning, the pain is likely to be diminished or not present. All third degree burns require immediate medical care.

How can minor burns be treated at home?

1. The first step to treating a minor burn is to put and hold the burned area under cold running water between 10-15 minutes. If this is not possible apply a compress of cold water. Do not put ice directly on the affected skin because it can cause frostbite and injuries.

2. Do not apply butter on burns. Butter will trap heat in tissue damage and its effects will aggravate the situation and increase the risk of developing infections.

3. After the area has cooled apply a special cream on the burn. Lotion will relieve discomfort and prevent dry skin.

4. Once the burned skin is hydrated, it will be covered with a sterile gauze bandage. It is important that it does not press too much on the wound.

5. Blisters filled with fluid will appear on the burned area and are designed to prevent infection and heal on their own. If, however, the blisters break, wash skin with soap and water, dry and then apply an antibiotic ointment and wrap a sterile bandage gauze over it.

6. If necessary, use acetaminophen or other painkillers when the pain is sharp.

Treatment of major burns

1. For the treatment of major burns, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

2. The cause of the accident should be eliminated, but you should not remove burnt clothing which has stuck to the skin.

3. Until you receive emergency medical treatment cover the burn with a dry sterile bandage or clean cloth. You can use a cotton bed sheet for larger areas. Do not use blankets or towels because both have a tendency to stick to burns.

4. Do not apply ointments and do not try to break the blisters.

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