Burn Relief: How to Treat a Steam Burn

steam burn

Feeling the burn? Hopefully not! 

Unfortunately, accidents happen. While getting any type of burn is unpleasant, it’s important to know how to treat a burn. Otherwise, you might end up in the hospital later to receive the treatment you truly need.

Approximately 486,000 burn injuries receive medical treatment at hospitals, community health centers, or private medical offices each year. 

While these tips can help you learn how to treat a burn, it’s still important to visit a medical professional if needed.

Keep reading to learn the five steps for treating a steam burn. 

1. Stop the Source

Steam burns, which are also known as scalds, are burns associated with hot liquids or steam. This type of burn often occurs at home. For example, you might develop this type of burn while you’re cooking. 

At a glance, steam burns don’t seem severe compared to a fire-attributed burn. While these burns don’t look as damaging, it’s important you don’t underestimate a steam burn. 

Though it’s only hot air, steam can still penetrate the skin’s outer layer.

Reaching beyond this layer can cause you to develop severe burns to the lower layers of your skin. The severity depends on:

  • The water or steam’s temperature
  • The amount of time your skin was exposed to the steam or water
  • How much skin was burned
  • Where the burn is located

The first step for how to treat a burn is to remove yourself from the source. If you were cooking, turn off the stove. That way, you can focus on treating yourself without causing another accident. 

2. Cool

Next, remove any hot or constricting clothing. You’ll want to take off belts and jewelry as well. Severe burns can cause your skin to swell quickly.

Once you’ve removed unnecessary clothing, hold the burned skin under cool, running water. You can also submerge the burn in cool water until the pain subsides. If you don’t have access to running water, use a compress instead. 

3. Protect & Prevent

After cooling the skin, protect the burned area with a sterile, non-adhesive bandage. You can also use a clean cloth.

Make sure you don’t apply lotions, oils, or creams to the skin.

Instead, use a petroleum-based ointment to help the burn heal. 

If the burn is second-degree or higher, you might need to prevent shock. Make sure to elevate the burn area above heart level if you can. 

4. Treat

About 50,000 burn injuries require hospitalization. Of these, 33 to 50% of these are steam burns.

To treat a first-degree steam burn at home instead of a hospital, take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

5. See a Doctor

In severe cases, you’ll need to visit a doctor. Schedule an appointment if:

  • There are signs of infection
  • The burn blister oozes
  • Redness and pain last more than a few hours
  • The hands, feet, face, or genitals are burned

A doctor can prescribe antibiotics and pain medication to help you heal. 

Seek Treatment for Sever Steam Burns

If left untreated, a steam burn can leave you in severe discomfort and cause scarring. Instead, use these steps or see a doctor for treatment. 

Visit our urgent care center today for immediate treatment for your steam burn.

Certified Urgent Care badge