How do you treat a minor burn ? | Good Health For All
How to Treat Scalds
A scald is slightly different from a burn, in that it’s caused by something wet (like water or steam) instead of dry heat. However, the treatment for a scald is essentially the same as how you treat a burn, which fortunately is very simple and effective in most cases. If you’ve been scalded by a hot liquid, the first thing to do is apply first aid to the wound and seek medical help if needed. Then, all you have to do is take care of the scald at home while it heals!
Providing First Aid for the Initial Burn
Stop the scalding process and remove any clothing from the area.Immediately remove the person from the source of the heat to prevent the scald from getting any worse. Then, remove any clothing or jewelry that’s near the burn to leave it exposed and avoid circulation to the area being cut off if the scald swells.
- Don’t remove any clothing or accessories that are stuck to the skin; these will have to be removed by a medical professional to avoid causing any inadvertent damage.
- Accessories that may need to be removed include rings, necklaces, bracelets, or any other items that may cut off circulation to the affected area.
Run the burn under cool water for at least 20 minutes.This will immediately soothe the injury by cooling it down and help prevent any further injury from the scald. If the pressure of the water on the skin is uncomfortable, wet a towel in the cool water and lay it gently onto the scalded area to cool it.
- Don’t use ice or ice cold water to cool the scald, since the ice may actually cause additional damage to the tissues in your skin.
Refrain from putting any cream or gel on the burn.Although you may want to apply moisturizer or a cooling lotion to the scald, these kinds of substances will actually seal heat in the burned area and end up causing even more harm. Stick to only running cool water over the scald for at least the first day of treatment.
- The 1 exception to this rule is antibacterial soap, which you will need to use to clean the burned area.
Cover the affected area with cling film and assess the scald’s severity.Apply a layer of cling film over the burned area instead of wrapping the film around a limb to avoid cutting off circulation. Then, visually examine the scald through the film to determine how bad it is. If it’s a minor or first-degree burn, it probably doesn’t require professional medical treatment.
- A first-degree burn will be painful and sensitive to the touch, slightly swollen, and red.
- A second-degree burn will be red, swollen, and painful, and will be accompanied by blisters and some white, blotchy areas of the skin.
- A third-degree burn will include partial numbness and black or white spots on the burned area of skin.
Seek medical help if the burn is deep or larger than your hand.A deep second- or third-degree burn will require medical treatment by a professional. If the scald is a first-degree burn but is larger than your hand, it’s also serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital.
- If you’re unsure at all about whether or not to go to the hospital, remember that it’s always a better choice to go to the hospital when the burn’s not that serious than to NOT go to the hospital when the burn IS serious.
Use over-the-counter medications for pain relief as necessary.Paracetamol and ibuprofen are both effective OTC painkillers for treating the pain caused by first- and second-degree burns. Ibuprofen also has the added benefit of reducing inflammation as well.
- Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions very closely when taking any OTC medication.
Caring for the Scald at Home
Keep the area clean to ward off infection.Use soap and cool water to wash the scalded area and prevent any bacterial infection from taking root. Be very gentle when washing the burned skin so as not to cause any further damage to the area.
- If the scald is on your hand or arm, avoid using that arm in tasks that could expose it to bacteria, such as cleaning or cooking.
Leave the scald uncovered if it was mild to help it heal faster.First-degree burns, and even some second-degree burns, don’t need to remain covered after the first 24 hours in order to heal. In fact, using a sticky adhesive to cover the wound may end up slowing down the healing process and even causing additional damage when they’re removed.
- Second-degree burns only need to be covered if they have open blisters or broken skin that may be infected.
Avoid scratching the burned skin or popping any blisters that develop.Doing this may lead to the skin opening up, which will put your scald at a higher risk of becoming infected. Not to mention that opening the skin this way will also slow down the healing process and possibly leave you with a more noticeable scar.
- If your burn develops any blisters, see your doctor to have them safely removed.
Keep the burned area out of the sun if possible to keep it comfortable.The scald will be sensitive to heat for a while after the initial burn, so keeping it out of the sun and in the shade will go a long way towards keeping it comfortable. This will also minimize the chances of the burn being made worse by the sun.
- If you can’t avoid being in the sun, use loose-fitting clothing to keep the scald covered.
Watch out for signs of infection.If your scald begins to look infected, you’ll need to see a doctor right away. Signs of possible infection include pus or fluid seeping from the wound, swelling or pain that increases over time, fever, or red streaks that spread out away from the burn site.
- Your doctor will most likely prescribe you a topical cream or gel to treat the infection. These are effective in the vast majority of cases and symptoms generally improve in a matter of days.
Video: "First Aid: Burns" - practice English with Spotlight
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