How to treat a minor burn

Treating a Minor Burn at Home

If you spend any time by the grill or fire pit, if you do any cooking or if you spend your weekends in the garage, chances are you’ve suffered a burn from a pan, open flame or tool. Getting burned isn’t a whole lot of fun – it begins with some pretty intense pain and can produce red, swollen skin that can continue to hurt for some time if it isn’t treated quickly and properly.

It should be noted – this is for minor burns only. If you burn a large area of your body, if you have severe pain or severe swelling or blistered skin you shouldn’t attempt to treat the burn at home. In cases of serious burns you should call 911 or visit a doctor or hospital immediately.

Cool it Down

You want to start by getting to a cool water source quickly – if you are inside by the stove make your way to the sink, if you are out grilling or in the garage make a your way to the hose. Run cool water over the entire burned area until the pain begins to dissipate. This can take anywhere from just a few minutes to 15-20 minutes or more (if you still feel the area burning, continue to run the cool water).

You may be tempted to go to extremes to cool a burn with ice but this isn’t the best idea. Your skin is already in a damaged state from the burn, you don’t want to run the risk of doing more damage by putting ice or ice water directly on the wound.

Wrap it Up

If your skin has blistered from the burn you can cover it with a sterile pad or sterile gauze bandage. No need to wrap too tightly, this step just serves to keep dirt out of blisters that may break open to prevent infection.

Kill the Pain

Even after the cool water treatment a burn the area can remain swollen and tender. If your burn is hurting you can opt for a pain killer like aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any residual swelling and dull the pain until you are fully healed. Keep the affected area clean and keep a close eye on it to prevent infection. If after a few days have passed your wound hasn’t gotten better or has begun to get worse you should get to a doctor for an evaluation.

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Jeff Wilson

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