Most minor burns will heal on
their own, and home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve your
symptoms and promote healing. But if you suspect you may have a more severe
injury, use first-aid measures while you arrange for an evaluation by your
Immediate first aid for burns
First, stop the burning to prevent a more
Heat burns (thermal burns): Smother any
flames by covering them with a blanket or water. If your clothing catches fire,
do not run: stop, drop, and roll on the ground to
smother the flames.
Cold temperature burns: Try first aid measures to warm the areas. Small areas of your body (ears, face, nose, fingers, toes) that are really cold or frozen can be warmed by blowing warm air on them, tucking them inside your clothing or putting them in warm water.
Liquid scald burns (thermal burns): Run cool
tap water over the burn for 10 to 20 minutes. Do not use ice.
Electrical burns: After the person has been separated
from the electrical source, check for breathing and a heartbeat. If the person
is not breathing or does not have a heartbeat, call 911.
Chemical burns: Natural foods such as
chili peppers, which contain a substance irritating to
the skin, can cause a burning sensation. When a chemical burn occurs, find out
what chemical caused the burn. Call your local Poison Control Center or the National Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222) for more information about how to treat the burn.
Next, look for other injuries. The burn may not be the only injury.
Remove any jewelry or clothing
at the site of the burn. If clothing is stuck to the burn, do not remove it.
Carefully cut around the stuck fabric to remove loose fabric. Remove all
jewelry, because it may be hard to remove it later if swelling
Prepare for an evaluation by a doctor
If you are
going to see your doctor soon:
Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth to
reduce the risk of infection.
Do not put any salve or medicine on
the burned area, so your doctor can properly assess your burn.
not put ice or butter on the burned area, because these measures do not help
and can damage the skin tissue.
soothing lotions that contain aloe vera to burned areas to relieve pain and
0.5% hydrocortisone cream to the burned area also may
help. Note: Do not use the cream on children younger
than age 2 unless your doctor tells you to. Do not use in the rectal or vaginal
area of children younger than age 12 unless your doctor tells you to.
There isn't much you can do to stop skin from
peeling after a sunburn—it is part of the healing process. Lotion may help
relieve the itching.