How to Treat Burns?
The skin is our body's largest organ. Our skin has many important functions, all of which are designed to help keep our bodies working properly. We can damage our skin when we expose it to excessive heat, electricity, chemicals, or radiation. Burns can be very painful and can cause blisters and charred, red or black skin. You can get burned by fire, heat, sunlight, electricity, or boiling water. Burn injuries can happen in seconds, but their effects can last a lifetime. It's important to know how to treat burns to minimize tissue damage, scaring and aid healing.
Minor burns can be treated at home and will heal on their own. More serious burns require immediate emergency medical care to prevent complications and death. Serious burns can take months or even years to fully heal. There are three types of burns: first-degree, second-degree and third-degree. Each degree is based on the severity of damage to the skin. To understand how to treat burns, you need to understand different kinds of burns.
First-degree burns only affect the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis. Signs of a first-degree burn are redness, the area is painful to touch, and mild swelling. These burns are similar to a painful sunburn. In most cases, first-degree burns can be treated at home. First-degree burns usually heal in 3 to 6 days.
- Immediately soak the wound in cool water for five minutes or longer.
- Protect the burn from pressure and friction.
Second-degree burns affect the epidermis and the next layer of skin called the dermis. Second-degree burn symptoms include blistering of the skin, pain, redness, and swelling. Some minor second-degree burns can be treated at home. Usually, second-degree burns heal in 10 days to 2 weeks. A minor second-degree burn usually does not leave a scar. In some severe cases, second-degree burns may require medical attention.
- Immediately soak the burn in cool water for 15 minutes.
- Remove jewellery and clothing from around the injury.
- Elevate burned arms or legs.
- See your doctor or go to the emergency department of your local hospital.
Third-degree burns affect all layers of skin and the tissues that lie underneath. Third degree burns can be extremely dangerous and fatal. Wounds such as third-degree burns must be covered as quickly as possible to prevent infection or loss of fluids. Third-degree burns must be treated immediately at a hospital. These burns are extremely serious and require immediate medical attention.
- Immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
- Don't immerse large severe burns in cold water.
- Don't remove clothing that is stuck to the skin.
- Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage.
- Don't soak the burn in water or apply any ointment.
- Don't attempt to treat serious burns unless you are a trained health professional.
- Install smoke alarms in your home.
- Keep children and pets away from all heaters.
- Don't smoke in bed.
- Remove electrical cords from floors and keep them out of reach.
- Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
- Check the water with your wrist or elbow before giving your baby a bath.
- Don't cook at the stove, eat or drink hot foods while holding a child.
- Set the household water heater at 120 degrees or lower.
- Make a habit of placing matches, gasoline and lighters in a safe place, out of children's reach.