Burns are a common domestic hazard that if not avoided properly can befall both adults and children, so the knowledge of how to treat burns is a ‘must have’ piece of first-aid information in the unfortunate event that a burn is sustained.
Treat a Minor Burn at Home
- The first step that you should take to treat a minor burn is to hold it under cold, running water for 10 to 15 minutes. If cold, running water is not available, immerse the burn in cold water or cover it with cold compresses. Be sure not to put ice directly against the burn; direct contact with ice can cause frostbite and more damage.
- Do not apply butter to the burn. Butter will trap heat in the damaged tissues, which can potentially cause more damage and increase your chance of developing an infection.
- Once the burn has cooled via cold water or compress exposure, apply lotion to the area. Lotion may soothe any discomfort that you feel, and will also prevent dryness.
- Once the burn is moisturized, cover it with a sterile gauze bandage. Just be sure to wrap the burn loosely to avoid putting too much pressure on the wound.
- Sometimes, in order to prevent infection, your body will produce fluid-filled blisters. Do not break these blisters – they will resolve on their own. If they break on their own, you can wash the area with water and plain soap, dry it, then apply an antibiotic ointment and a loosely wrapped sterile gauze bandage. It is fine to trim off dead skin from popped blisters.
- If needed, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen until the pain is tolerable.
Treat Major Burns
- For all major burns, seek medical care as soon as possible.
- Be sure that the cause of the burn has been eliminated, but do not remove burned clothing that has adhered to your skin.
- Until you receive emergency medical treatment, cover the burned region with a dry, sterile bandage or a clean cloth. Use a cotton bed sheet for large areas. Do not use blankets or towels, as both have a tendency to stick to burns.
- Do not apply ointments or try to break blisters.
Home Remedies for Burnt Skin
- Diluted vinegar is one of the best ways to treat burnt skin. Cover the area of the burn with a cloth that has been soaked in diluted vinegar. This is a great way to soothe the pain. In case the pain rises again, the compress needs to be changed for a fresh one.
- Lavender essential oil is good first aid for burns, as it is an effective antiseptic as well as a painkiller, which promotes rapid healing. It also reduces scarring in the effected area. If lavender is applied to the burn immediately, it will prevent scarring completely. If the burn covers a larger area, lavender oil should be applied to the burn, with a piece of gauze or cloth.
- The fresh sap found in a piece of a fleshy Aloe Vera leaf should be applied directly in the burnt skin, as it has tissue healing properties.
- Make a paste of cotton-ash, by burning a piece of a pure white cotton fabric. Mix the ash in some olive oil, to create a thick paste and apply it on the burned skin. Cover the skin with some cling wrap and leave it that way for a while. This should get rid of the pain in a few minutes. In case the pain returns, a fresh poultice may need to be used. This is one of the best ways to treat burnt skin.
- It is possible to treat sun burnt skin, by applying some cold milk on the area. Alternately, make a paste using oatmeal and purified water and apply it on the burn till it dries, before washing it off.