Treating minor burns Treating minor burns

Treating minor burns

Armony in health 13 February, 2017 Isabel Vallejo


Minor burns, known as first-degree burns, affect only the first layer of the skin, usually leaving it red and dry.

In order to treat them properly, it is important to have a basic understanding of first aid. MedlinePlus offers some guidelines for treating burns in the case of an emergency.

  • If clothes are not stuck to the burn, remove them. If the burn was caused by chemical products, remove all articles of clothing that contain these liquids.

  • Cool the burn: Use cool water, not ice. The extreme cold from the ice can injure the tissue even more. If possible, especially if the burn is caused by chemicals, hold the burned skin under cool running water for 10 to 15 minutes until the pain is reduced.

  • Clean the burn with soap and water. Do not break blisters, as they can become infected.

  • If needed, protect the burn from rubbing and pressure with a sterile, non-stick gauze lightly taped or wrapped over it. Change it once a day.

  • For pain, take an over-the-counter pain medicine. These include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.

  • Remember that minor burns can take up to three weeks to heal.

See your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms such as increased pain, redness, swelling, oozing or pus, fever or swollen lymph nodes as burns are susceptible to tetanus and these symptoms can be signs of infection. If your last tetanus shot was more than five years ago, call your doctor. You may need a booster shot.

The deeper the burn, the more likely it is to scar. If the burn appears to be developing a scar, call your doctor for advice.