Burns: How to Treat Them and When to Seek Medical Attention

We often encounter burn risks in our everyday lives. From making your cup of coffee in the morning to ironing your clothes to cooking dinner, it’s likely that you will suffer a burn at some point in your life.   That’s why it’s important to know what to do if you experience this type of injury.

Hands putting a bandage on another one

Some burns are minor and can safely be treated at home. It’s important to know the difference between minor burns and major burns to avoid infection, scarring, and permanent injury.

  • First-degree burns are burns that affect only the top layer of skin; typically the skin will turn red and will become swollen and painful, but will not blister. First-degree burns can be treated by:
  • Running the affected area under cool water for five minutes. It is important not to use ice, as this can make the damage worse.
  • Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief.
  • Applying aloe vera gel or lidocaine to the area to soothe the skin.
  • Using an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
  • Second-degree burns go one layer deeper than first-degree burns; the skin will blister, turn red, swell, and become painful. Second-degree burns can be treated by:
  • Running the affected area under cool water for fifteen minutes.
  • Taking an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Applying an antibiotic cream to the area.
  • Loosely wrapping sterile gauze over the burn.
  • Avoiding popping the blisters, as this could cause infection. Third-degree burns affect the skin all the way through, which is why they are sometimes called full-thickness burns. Symptoms of a third-degree burn include:
  • A waxy or white appearance
  • Charring of the affected area
  • Dark brown color
  • Raised and leathery texture
  • Blisters that do not fully develop

If the burn is minor, but is located on the face, hands, buttocks, groin, or feet, or is spread over a large area, or there is pain, redness, swelling, drainage, odor, fever, swollen lymph nodes, or a red streak coming from the burn site, you should seek medical attention from the professionals at a critical care facility such as Emergi-Care.

Why make Emergi-Care your number one choice to treat burns and other injuries? Emergi-Care is a fully licensed, freestanding critical care clinic in Houston, Texas, providing the Clear Lake area community with a convenient alternative to overcrowded hospitals and urgent care centers by delivering fast, friendly, high-quality medical treatment in a comfortable neighborhood setting. For more information, visit Emergi-Care’s website or Facebook page.

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