Burns can result from everyday things and activities in your home. The most common causes of burns are from scalds (steam, hot bath water, hot drinks and foods), fire, chemicals, electricity and overexposure to the sun. Some burns may be more serious than others.
The severity of the burn is based on the depth of the burn. First degree burns are the least severe, and third degree burns are the most severe. Call 911 or seek medical attention if you are unsure of how severe your burn is.
The following tips can be used when treating burn injuries:
Treatment of minor burns (first and second degree burns no larger than 3’’ in diameter)
- Cool the burn. Hold under cold running tap water until the area is free from pain even after removal from the water. If this is not possible cool with a cold compress.
- Cover the burn with a sterile nonstick dressing and bandage. Don’t use fluffy cotton or other material that may stick to or get lint in the wound. Wrap the bandage loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin. Bandaging reduces pain, protects blistered skin, and helps prevent infection.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, etc). Use caution when giving pain relievers to children or teenagers. Although aspirin is approved for use in children older than 2 years, children and teens recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin.
Treatment for severe/major burns
- Do not remove clothing that is stuck to the skin. However, do make sure the victim is no longer in contact with smoldering materials or exposed smoke or heat.
- Do not immerse large severe burns in cold water. This could cause a drop in body temperature (hypothermia) and deteriorate blood pressure and circulation causing shock.
- Check for responsiveness and signs of normal breathing. If there is no normal breathing begin CPR.
- Treat for shock: have the person lie on back, elevate legs if no trauma and maintain normal body temperature (cover with a sheet or blanket).