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Burns - Home Treatment

Home treatment for minor burns continued...

You may be able to treat second-degree burns at home.

First-degree burns and minor second-degree burns can be painful. Try the following to help relieve your pain:

Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:

Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.

Lotions

Some doctors suggest using skin lotions, such as Vaseline Intensive Care or Lubriderm, on first-degree burns or second-degree burns that have unbroken healing skin. These skin lotions can be used to relieve itching but should not be used if the burns have fluid weeping from them or have fresh scabs. An antihistamine, such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton, can also help stop the itching. Read and follow any warning on the label.

When a first-degree burn or minor second-degree burn is 2 to 3 days old, using the juice from an aloe leaf can help the burn heal and feel better. Applying the aloe juice may sting at first contact.

It is important to protect a burn while it is healing.

  • Newly healed burns can be sensitive to temperature. Healing burns need to be protected from the cold, because the burned area is more likely to develop frostbite.
  • A newly burned area can sunburn easily. Sunscreen with a high sun protective factor (SPF at least 30) should be used for the first year after a burn to protect the new skin.

Do not smoke. Smoking slows healing because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Pain increases.
  • Difficulty breathing develops.
  • Signs of infection develop.
  • Symptoms become more severe or frequent.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 27, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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