Table of Contents
- Let’s dive in
- Learn to Treat Your Burns the Right Way
Did you get a bad or slight burn? Do you want to learn first aid for various types of burns? Should you put ice on a burn if it’s only a small one?
We’ve got answers to these questions and more below.
In 2018, over 1.3 million fires occurred in the US, causing 3,655 deaths and 15,200 injuries in total. Fire safety and first aid knowledge are critical in saving lives. We hope you pick up some valuable knowledge from this guide.
Keep reading to find out what to put on a burn to stop the pain. We also included some ways to better understand your burn injuries and what to do in response.
Let’s dive in
1. How Bad Is Your Burn?
Burns from fire, hot liquids, and hot solids are a global public health problem. The World Health Organization says burns cause around 180,000 deaths per year. Its report also says that non-fatal burn injuries are the leading cause of morbidity.
Burn victims must get burn relief as soon as possible. Before we jump into the steps to treat a burn, you need to know how bad it is first. Understanding the extent of your burn can help you take the right steps in treating and caring for it.
Three Levels of Burn Injuries
The most minor burn injury is the first-degree burn. These are burn injuries that only affect the epidermis or the top layer of the skin. These burns make the skin look red, tender, and/or swollen, and this is the type of burn you can still treat at home.
The next category is second-degree burns or partial-thickness burns. They’re burns that reach the dermis or the second layer of skin. These burns are often painful and cause redness and pain.
Second-degree burn injuries may cause oozing or bleeding and can heal in 1-3 weeks. Treatment for these burns varies. Some may need ointments or special dressings while others need surgery.
Third-degree burns or full-thickness burns destroy the epidermis and dermis. They may also penetrate the innermost layer of skin or the subcutaneous tissue. The burn site looks charred, white, blackened, or gray.
The final one is fourth-degree burns. They damage your skin layers as well as the bones, muscles, and tendons underneath. This is the most dangerous because you gain a high risk of infection.
They leave raised scars and the skin leathery and dry. Skin grafts are common treatments for fourth-degree burns. Sometimes, you won’t feel any pain because your nerve endings get damaged.
2. Ways to Treat a Minor Burn
For this segment, we will focus on what you can do and what to put on a burn classified as a minor burn (first-degree burns). If you’ve had a second-degree burn or worse, see a doctor. Burn doctors can provide the best care for burn injuries at second-degree and worse.
First-degree burns can be inconvenient, especially when they’re on your hands or feet. You can reduce the pain and damage by taking a few measures. The first thing you need to do is to remove tight items around the burn area before it swells.
Next, keep the burn cool. Put the injured appendage or body part under cool running water. Never use cold water or ice water on a burn.
This can worsen the damage. Using cold water or anything as extreme can damage the tissue even more.
If you want to keep the burn protected, cover it up with a sterile gauze bandage. Wrap it up, but keep it loose so you avoid putting any pressure on the burned skin. Bandaging the burn will prevent air from reaching the area and protects blistered skin.
3. First Aid Treatment for a Major Burn Injury
Again, if you’ve had a burn injury that’s worse than minor scalding or burns, call 911 right away. In the meantime, these are the burn remedies to treat a major burn injury.
Bad burns often happen at accidents. Before you treat a burn, make sure you or the injured person is at a safe distance from harm or the source of the burn. If a person is unconscious from smoke inhalation or shock, begin rescue breathing if you know how to do it.
If items like jewelry or clothes are around the burn area, remove them as fast as you can. Burns swell fast, so you have to act fast. Take a moist and cool cloth or bandage and cover the burn with it.
Don’t immerse large burns in water or you’ll risk a serious loss of body heat. Keep the burned appendage or body part raised above the level of the heart.
As you continue with these procedures, keep an eye for signs of shock. That includes fainting, paleness, or shallow breathing. Stay calm and keep the patient calm as well.
4. Should You Put Ice on a Burn? And Other Don’ts for Burns
As we said earlier, never put anything with extreme temperatures on burned skin, including ice, ice water, or cold water. This can cause more damage to the injury or the burned skin. Further damage to the injury can slow down the healing process.
Another reason to avoid using ice or cold water is that you can get hypothermia. This is dangerous if you have second-degree burns or worse. Your body loses heat fast, especially when your epidermis isn’t keeping the heat in due to the injury.
Don’t place milk, butter, or oils on your burns. These wrong burn remedies can cause further harm. They may also cause infections that can worsen the injury.
Essential oils and common cooking oils trap heat, which can worsen your injury. Rubbing butter over your burn acts the same way. Plus, no scientific evidence supports the claim that it is a safe treatment for burns.
Another popular yet unsafe burn treatment is toothpaste. The menthol in toothpaste may give you a soothing feeling. However, toothpaste is not sterile.
Avoid placing uncooked egg whites on a bun. This can also spread bacteria and put you at risk of infection. Like butter and milk, there’s no scientific research to claim that egg whites treat burns.
Again, if you want to keep the skin cool, put it under cool running water. You can also take a piece of cloth or gauze, soak it in cool water, and use it to cover the burn. Don’t forget to squeeze the excess water out before you place it on the injury.
Don’t rupture or pick at the blister if your skin develops any. This also increases your risk of infection. Cover the area to keep the blister protected.
5. Aftercare and How to Help Burns Heal Faster
Aftercare for burn injuries is essential. Keep your burn protected from the elements by keeping it bandaged. It also helps to stay out of the sun and to wear loose-fitting clothes to cover the wound with.
Severe burn injuries take a long time to heal. Help your burn heal faster by following the doctor’s instructions. Your doctor will teach you the right way of cleaning the burn and changing the bandages.
If a burn injury becomes too painful, apply antibiotic creams or ointments to help the burn heal. If you want to be sure you’re using one that’s safe and effective, ask your doctor for recommendations. Keep an eye out for creams or lotions with aloe vera as an ingredient, since it’s good for burns.
Help your healing skin moisturize and become less sensitive. Once it’s already closed, apply unscented lotions. Massage it into your burn scar a few times a day.
Ask your doctor for unscented lotion recommendations. Lotions in bottles are easier to apply but need more applications. Lotions in jars and tubes are thicker and take more time to apply, but they last longer on your skin.
This is the ideal time for you to touch your scars using only light pressure. This keeps it from becoming sensitive as it heals. You can also use this time to try some light stretching.
6. Find Justice for Burn Victims
Fire accidents can change a person’s life and turn it around at a complete 180. Getting burned can cost you a lot from hospital bills to property damage. Severe burns can even cause depression to some degree or low self-esteem.
An innocent person may need to deal with the lifelong impact of burn injuries because of other’s recklessness. A company may not provide safety measures for its employees who’re at risk of burn injuries. Others may only be victims of another’s negligence, like a neighbor leaving the stove on.
If you got burned due to other’s faults, visit this page to learn your rights as a burn victim. You can also file a case for a family member who perished or cannot do so by himself.
Learn to Treat Your Burns the Right Way
That’s everything you need to know when treating minor and major burns. We hope that answers the question of should you put ice on a burn and more. Now, you can treat your burns and lessen the pain the right way.
We hope you learned something valuable from this guide on first aid and aftercare for burns. If you want more helpful content like this one, check out our other guides as well.