How to Treat Minor Burns: First Aid Treatment

How to Treat Minor Burns: First Aid Treatment

More than a million Americans each year require medical attention due to burn injuries. The majority of these injuries are minor burns and do not cause any serious complications. In this section we'll look at how to effectively treat a minor burn injury. If a victim has suffered major burns, she will need urgent medical treatment. A minor burn normally only affects the superficial layer of the skin. In some cases a small blister may form over the burn site.

Minor burn injuries can be very painful! Prompt first aid treatment can reduce the pain and swelling from a burn injury and speed the recovery process for the victim. You should be aware that all burn injuries are at high risk of becoming infected. This occurs because a burn causes a break in the skin, which is our protective barrier against germs. Always seek medical advice if you are concerned about an infected burn, as antibiotics may be required to treat the infection.

First Aid Treatment for a Minor Burn

1. Immediately cool the burned area for a minimum of twenty minutes with cool running water.

2. If possible, remove any rings, watches, or straps near the burned area before the burned area begins to swell.

3. Cover the burn loosely with a non-fluffy sterile dressing. Clean plastic wrap can be used if no sterile dressings are available.

When to Seek Help

Even minor burns may require specialist medical attention. The following situations always require medical assistance:

◾ The burn involves the face, feet, hands, or genital area

◾ There is any evidence of infection in the burn: increasing pain, redness, or discharge of pus

◾ The burn is located near a joint, such as the knee

◾ The victim is elderly or a very young child

◾ Large blisters have formed

◾ Rings or watches are stuck due to excess swelling around the burn

Common Minor Burn Injury Myths

There are many myths regarding the correct first aid treatment of burns. Many food products have been suggested as potential treatments for burns; however, it's best to keep the butter and mayonnaise in the fridge and use only water to cool a burn.

◾ Do not apply toothpaste, butter, or any other foodstuff to a burn. This will not cool the burn adequately. The best method to cool a minor burn is by using running water.

◾ Do not burst blisters; doing this will increase the risk of infection in the burn.

◾ Do not place ice on a minor burn to speed up the cooling process; the ice could make the injury worse by causing freeze burns to the skin.