Ways & How

How to Treat Burn Wounds

How to Treat Burn Wounds

Burns are common injuries that can happen at home. Many people accidentally touch a hot pot while cooking or burn themselves while drinking a steaming hot cup of coffee. While minor burns heal on their own and usually do not require medical attention, more severe burns require treatment in order to reduce the risk of developing infections. Burns can also cause scarring, so it is important to learn how to treat burn wounds. Here are the steps to treating burn wounds:

  1. Stop the cause of burn. Avoid getting burned more severely by smothering any flames. If your clothes catch on fire, do not panic and run around but instead roll on the ground to kill the flames. If a liquid burns you, run cool water over the burn for 10 to 20 minutes. Avoid using ice, as this can cause cold burns.

  2. Assess the severity of the burn. Knowing the degree of burn is important since this will determine the next steps that you will take.

    A. First-degree burn: This type of burn is characterized by redness, swelling, and slight pain.



    It only affects the epidermis or top layer of the skin and does not extend deeper than that. It usually results from scalding, short contact with hot items, and exposure to the sun for quite some time. First-degree burns are minor and do not need medical attention.

    B. Second-degree burn: It has all the characteristics of a first-degree burn but with additional symptoms, such as blotchiness and blisters. It can also be extremely painful, since it burns deeper into dermis layer of skin, where your sensory nerves are located. It can happen through extended contact with hot items and prolonged exposure to the sun. Burns found on the face, hands, feet, and groin as well as second-degree burns bigger than 3 inches require medical attention. Otherwise, you can treat them at home.

    C. Third-degree burn: This is the worst of the three and requires immediate medical attention since it is a major burn. It affects all layers of the skin and may even extend to the fat, muscles, and bones. The burnt area will look leathery and appear white or black.

  3. Treat minor burns at home. Minor burns can be treated at home and require no emergency attention. Here are some of the things that you can do to treat first- or second-degree burns:

    A. Apply a cold compress on burned areas. Wrap an ice pack or cold compress in a towel and place it over the affected area. Applying the cold compress directly on the burn will further burn your skin, so avoid doing this. You can also run cool water on the area for 10-15 minutes.

    B. Apply aloe vera. Lotions that contain aloe vera can soothe a burn and relieve pain and swelling. Another option is using a 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream.

    C. Apply black tea. Black tea contains tannic acid, a substance that helps speed up the healing process. Soak a few black tea bags in water, and then apply them on your burn. You may also get a washcloth, soak it in brewed black tea, and apply the cloth on the affected area.

    D. Bandage your burn. First-degree burns seldom require bandages, but second-degree burns have blisters that need to be covered to prevent infection. Apply a sterile bandage on the affected area to promote healing and minimize scarring. Make sure to change the dressing at least once a day or as needed.

  4. Call for help in the case of major burns. Third- and fourth-degree burns should be treated in a medical facility. Aside from calling emergency services, do not attempt to remove or adjust clothing from burned areas since it can cause bleeding. You may also apply cold compress for a short period of time to try to cool the burn. For chemical burns, let cold water run on the affected area to clear it of irritants. Try to loosely wrap the burned area with sterile gauze to prevent infection.

Knowing how to treat burn wounds can help relieve some pain of discomfort. It is important to assess the severity of the wound and to call immediately for medical help in the case of major burn wounds.

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