Do’s and Don’ts for Minor Burns
Often, there are situations where our loved ones or we get burnt due to some small household accidents. Let us look at the various degrees of burns and what we can do in the case of minor burns.
Based on the severity, burns are usually classified into three degrees. A first degree burn is a very superficial, surface burn that causes redness, pain and minimal swelling. It does not result in a blister and the skin becomes tender where the burn occurs. There might be a slight peeling of the skin in about 3 days. These are usually caused by a short exposure to a fire source or contact with hot liquids.
A second degree burn has redness, pain, swelling and involves blistering. These burns are caused by exposure to higher temperatures, such as steam and chemical induced flames. They require proper treatment and can take up to a month to heal. If the burns are too deep, they might be classified as third degree burns, requiring skin grafting for healing.
A third degree burn involves all layers of the skin and the skin is usually charred black. It may also appear white and dry. Simply put, a third degree burn is the complete destruction of all the skin layers. The skin becomes leathery and loses elasticity. Third degree burns require immediate medical attention.
Minor burns are of the first and second degree. Some do’s and don’ts for minor burns”:
-> Open out the burned area properly by removing any clothing around it.
-> Cool the area as quickly as possible with running water or, if possible, submerge in a bowl of cool water for roughly ten minutes until the pain is reduced to some extent.
-> Leave any blisters that you see intact. Disturbing them is not a good idea at this stage.
-> Apply an ointment for burns from your first aid kit and use sterile gauze to gently and lightly wrap the burn area. This dressing would protect your skin from infection and guard the blistered skin.
-> Take a painkiller such as paracetamol to reduce pain and discomfort.
-> Seek medical attention.
-> Don’t use ice or ice packs on the affected area. Instead, hold it under running water or immerse in a bowl of water.
-> Don’t apply any oil such as butter, grease, etc on the burn. Don’t apply toothpaste on the burn. Instead, use a first aid cream or a burn-specific cream.
-> Don’t use cotton dressing or any other fluffy dressing to cover the burn. Instead, use sterile gauze that is available in any first aid kit in the market.
-> Don’t burst blisters. Instead, apply a burn cream and dress the burn, leaving the blister to subside on its own. Blisters are the body’s natural mechanism that act as a barrier and prevent the burn from getting infected.
-> Don’t remove any burnt piece of clothing or any other item, if it is stuck to the skin due to the burn. Only a doctor should remove it.
In all cases, prevention is better than cure. So stay safe and follow all precautions to avoid getting burnt. Constant vigilance at our work, travel and home surroundings would ensure that we remain protected from any potential burns. Take care!