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When and How to Treat Burns and Scalds at Home

Whether you burn your hand or fingers on a frying pan, spend too much time in the sun, or split hot coffee or water on your lap, burns are surely not pleasant. Unluckily, burns and scalds are two of the most common household injuries. Burns and scalds are cured in the same way. A scald is caused by something liquid or wet, such as hot water or steam. A burn is caused by dry heat like an iron or fire.

Burns are classified by their severity. A first-degree burn is measured the least severe because it only damages the outer layer of skin. It usually only poses mild pain, redness or swelling. Second-degree burns harm the deeper layers of the skin and poses blisters, wet, white, and shiny skin. Third-degree burns involve harm to all layers of the skin, whilst fourth-degree burns may damage the joints and bones. Third and fourth degree burns are needed medical emergencies and should only be treated in a health care centre. Sometimes, scald burns from hot liquids can cause severe pain and serious burn may be relatively painless.

When to Treat Burns

You can cure most first-degree and second-degree burns which are less than three inches in diameter at home. Severe burn needs medical attention as soon as possible.

How to Treat Burns and Scalds

To treat scald burns from hot liquids, follow the first aid advice below:

  • Instantly get the person away from the hot liquid or hot source to discontinue the burning.
  • Cool the burn with lukewarm or cool running water for around 20 minutes. Never use iced water, ice, or any creams or greasy stuffs such as butter.
  • Remove any jewellery or clothing that’s close to the burnt area of the skin, including babies’ diapers, but don’t try to move anything that is get stuck to the skin.
  • Keep the individual warm by using a blanket. But do not rub it against the burnt area.
  • Wrap the burn by placing a layer of cling film over it such as a clean plastic bag.
  • Have painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol if the pain is severe.
  • If the eyes or face are burnt, sit up as much as feasible, rather than lying down on the bed because this helps to diminish swelling.

When to Get Medical Attention

More severe burns require specialized medical attention. You should go to a health care centre or hospital for:

  • All electrical burns and chemical
  • Deep or large burns – any burn larger than your hand
  • Any scald burns from hot liquids that cause white or charred skin.
  • Burns on the hands, face, arms, feet, legs or genital areas that poses blisters

Toddlers under five years’ old and pregnant women have greater risk to get affected of burns; they should get medical attention after a burn or scald.

The size and depth of the burn will be evaluated and the affected part cleaned before a dressing is practiced. In serious cases, skin graft surgery may be suggested.

A few Home Remedies for Burns

Mild burns normally take about a week or two to entirely heal and typically don’t cause scarring. The purpose of burn treatment is to diminish pain, stop infections, and heal the skin faster.

1.     Cool Water or Cool Compresses

Firstly, you should run cool (not cold) water over the burn area for around 20 minutes. In addition, you can place a cool compress or clean wet cloth over the burn area helps reduce pain and swelling.

2.     Antibiotic Ointments

Antibiotic creams and ointments help to prevent infections. You can apply an antibacterial ointment like Neosporin or Bacitracin over your burn area and cover with a sterile, cling film, non-fluffy dressing or cloth.

3.     Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is quite effective in healing first to second degree burns. Aloe Vera promotes circulation, anti-inflammatory and inhibits the growth of bacteria.

4.     Honey

Apart from its scrumptious taste, honey can heal minor burns when applied topically. Honey has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

5.     Reducing Sun Exposure

Avoid exposing the scald to direct sunlight. If you don’t have any option then Keep your burnt skin covered with clothing.