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Burn Treatment

Skin burns causes damage to the body tissues that can be due to fire, heat, electricity, chemicals and radiation or sunlight. Depending on the depth and extent of skin damage, burns are classified into three categories - first degree burns, second degree burns and third degree burns. First degree burns damage only the outer layer of the skin and are considered least serious. Epidermis or the outer layer of skin has not been burn through in first degree burns. Second degree burns damage the epidermis and also cause injury in the deeper layers (dermis) of the skin.

Third degree burns causes damage to all the layers of the skin and require immediate medical treatment.

Skin Burn Treatment
For minor burn treatment or treating minor burns, which includes first degree burns and minor second degree burns with burn area no wider than three inches, the following action should be taken. How to treat a burn?

  1. Cool burn - The burned area should be hold under cold running water for at least 5 minutes to stop further burning of the skin tissue. Never use ice to cool the burn or treat burns as ice can cause further tissue damage. If it is not possible to use running water in certain areas to treat skin burn then use cold compress or immerse the burn area in cool water.
  2. To protect the blistered skin and to reduce pain use sterilized bandage to cover the burn region. Fluffy cotton which can irritate the burned skin further should be avoided in treating skin burns.
  3. To ease the pain, take an over the counter pain reliever.

Minor burns may heal with pigment changes, but they may not require any extensive burns treatment. If you notice any signs of infection like pain, swelling, redness, fever or oozing then seek medical help for treatment of burns with infection. Don't apply any butter or ointments on the burns as this will not allow healing and interfere in treating burns. If you get a blister, don't break it open as an open blister is vulnerable to infections.

First aid measure should be taken to prevent the burn form becoming worse and to limit the extent of damage for major burns. Don't immerse the burned area in cold water for major burns as this increase the chances of shock. Make sure that the person is no longer in contact with the burnt material or mode and avoid removing any burnt cloths, instead cover the area with cool, sterile bandage or cool, clean and moist cloth/towels.

How to treat burns caused due to chemicals?
A chemical burn treatment is usually different. Any chemical that has been spilled on clothing or other items should be removed carefully. Then to get rid of the chemical from the skin, the burn skin should be kept under running water for at least 15 minutes. Always use large amounts of water to wash away the chemicals, small amounts of water can actually activate some chemicals. Then cover the burn with a sterile bandage and consult a specialist.

A third degree treatment for burns usually involves replacement of fluids through intravenous line and antibiotics. Burn treatments would largely depend on the depth and severity of tissue damage, if you suspect any pain or infection due to burns then consult a specialist immediately.

Submitted on January 16, 2014