If you burn yourself, immediate treatment can help you to feel better faster as well as prevent scarring. However, your grandmother’s remedy of reaching for the butter is one of the worst things that you can do for a burn, since it can actually cause you to burn more by trapping the heat in at the burn site. So here is a look at what you should do for a burn.
One of the best things that you can do immediately after becoming burned is to run cool water over the burn site. You will then need to see how bad the burn is. The different degrees of burns, which are determined by the amount of damage, have different types of treatment.
The mildest type of burn is a first degree burn. This type of burn only affects the top layer of skin. Start by running cool water over the burned area. The water should not be so cold that it causes the surrounding area to become numb. Once you have cooled the burned area, over the counter pain relievers can be used to help any residual pain and discomfort. Watch the burn site for signs of infection and keep clean until fully healed.
The next level of burn injury is a second degree burn. This type of burn is deeper than a first degree burn, and often more painful. The skin at the burn site will blister. As long as this type of burn has not occurred on the face or hands you can usually treat this type of burn at home as well. You will again need to cool the area, but the additional use of burn or antibiotic ointment may also be required. If the burn is severe, you will need to increase the amount of fluids because it can cause dehydration. For pain and discomfort, an over the counter pain reliever can be used. Again, you will need to watch the burned area for signs of infection. If the burn is not healing, or covers a large area, you should seek medical attention.
The worst type of burn is a third degree burn. This type of burn causes all the layers of the skin to be destroyed and requires medical attention. Often there is little to no pain associated with this type of burn because the nerves are destroyed. Hospitalization is often required, and there is an increased risk of infection and dehydration. In some cases, extensive treatments like skin grafts may be required to help the area to heal.
If you do not know how severe a burn you receive is, the best course of action is to see medical attention. Left untreated, even mild burns can become infected or have difficulties healing. This can lead to an increased risk of scarring or other complications.
If you do see a doctor for your burn, he or she will give you instructions on the proper care to prevent infection. Be sure to follow all instructions exactly. While proper care can be time consuming and inconvenient, but is required to prevent further complications.