What To Do For A Burn

What To Do For A Burn

Immediate Actions: First Aid Steps

Treating a burn depends on the severity and extent of the injury. There are steps for treating different severities of burns. 

Cooling the Area

The first action for most burns is to cool down the affected area with cold running water for several minutes. Hold the affected area under cool (not cold) running water for about 10-20 minutes. This helps reduce pain and prevents the burn from getting worse. Using ice or extremely cold water can further damage the tissue.

Remove Tight Items

Take off any tight items around the burned area, like jewelry or clothing, to allow for swelling and prevent further injury.

Assessing the Severity

First Degree Burns

Characterized by redness and mild pain, these burns usually don’t require professional medical care but should be monitored. These burns affect the outer and underlying layer of skin and may result in blisters, severe pain, and redness.

Second and Third Degree Burns

These more severe burns can cause blisters, changes in skin color, and severe pain. Immediate medical attention is essential.

Gels and Creams

Over-the-counter gels and creams may provide relief for minor burns but should be avoided for more severe burns unless advised by a healthcare provider.

Home Remedies

Some people turn to natural remedies, like aloe vera, to soothe burns. However, these should not replace medical advice.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

For minor burns, OTC pain relievers can help manage pain. Always consult a healthcare provider for proper dosing.

Prescription Medication

For more severe burns, prescription pain medication may be required, under medical supervision.

When to Seek Professional Help

Signs of Infection

Red streaks, increased pain, or pus are indicators of infection and require immediate medical attention.

Inability to Cope with Pain

If the pain is intolerable even after taking OTC medications, it’s a sign that you should seek medical attention promptly.

Always seek professional medical attention for severe burns or burns that cover a large area of the body. These instructions are not a substitute for professional medical advice and care.

Recovering and Healing

Changing Dressings

For burns requiring dressings, it’s crucial to regularly change them to promote healing and prevent infection.

Skin Care

Once a burn starts to heal, moisturizing the area can help in the recovery process and minimize scarring.

Avoiding Scars and Complications

Don't Pop Blisters

Popping blisters can expose the area to infection and should be avoided.

Physical Therapy

For larger burns, physical therapy may be recommended to prevent loss of mobility in the affected area.

Understanding Long-Term Effects


Scarring is a common long-term effect of more severe burns.

Psychological Impact

The experience can also have psychological impacts like trauma or stress, which may require counseling.

Prevention for the Future

Safety Measures

Understanding what caused the burn can help in taking preventive measures for the future.

Educational Resources

Learning from credible resources can be helpful in understanding how to deal with burns and prevent them.

Documentation Aspect

Medical Records

If medical assistance was sought, maintaining a record of the treatment can be important for both health tracking.

Insurance Claims

Documentation is essential if you intend to file any insurance claims related to the injury.

Being Proactive for Your Health

Immediate Action is Key

Quick and appropriate action can make all the difference in how well a burn heals and what long-term effects it may have.

Consult and Follow Medical Advice

Especially for severe burns, professional medical care is crucial for proper treatment and healing.

Burns can be a painful and traumatic experience, requiring immediate and often ongoing care. Knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath, as well as how to foster healing and prevent complications, is key for effective treatment and recovery.

First Aid Certification
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