Burn First Aid: How to Act Fast and Treat a Burn Quickly

burn first aid

Do you know how to properly treat a burn?

Burns aren’t like other wounds because they can’t be treated with hydrogen peroxide and a bandage. In fact, both of those could further aggravate a burn.

Burns can come when you least expect them, so it’s good to be prepared and know what you’ll need to treat them.

Here are some basic burn first aid tips.

Run Under Cool Water

After removing any restrictive clothing, hold the burned skin under cool water until the burn is no longer painful.

If cool running water isn’t available, applying a cool compress or wet cloth for 5-15 minutes at a time can also help minimize pain and swelling. Try not to use water or a compress that is too cold because this may aggravate the burn.

This first aid technique works with first-degree burns that have only affected the top layers of the skin. Second- and third-degree burns require medical attention.

Cover the Affected Area

Cover the burned area with a sterile cloth to keep the burn protected. Avoid using adhesive bandages because these could further irritate the skin.

Apply a burn ointment or other petroleum-based ointment 2-3 times per day. Avoid applying creams, lotions, or anything with a fragrance to the affected area.

If you have a first- to second-degree burn, aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory that can also keep bacteria from growing in and around the burn site. Using the plant itself is ideal, but if you only have a cream or gel, make sure it has a high percentage of aloe vera before using it.

Treat the Pain

Over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can help relieve pain. A cool compress can be applied to the burn for temporary on-site pain relief. A doctor can prescribe something for more serious burn cases.

Contact a Professional

Seek medical help if you think you have a third-degree burn, you develop a high temperature, or if your last tetanus shot was over five years ago. If hands, feet, face, or genitals have become burned, seek medical help. A trip to the doctor is necessary if the burn is severe, oozing, or becomes infected.

Call 911 if the burn penetrates every layer of the skin, the skin looks charred or waxy, or if the burned individual is an infant or a senior. Additionally, third-degree burns and burns caused by an electrical shock are too serious to treat at home because they may have damaged internal tissue. Call 911 immediately to treat these kinds of burns.

Learning and Applying Burn First Aid

These burn first aid tips will get you started when treating a burn, but you must follow through with treatment to heal the burn. When recovering from a burn, it’s best to leave the burn site alone. If blisters form, resist the urge to break them and keep the area clean and protected.

If you’re in the Houma, Louisiana area and need urgent care, contact us!

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