Treating a burn at home relies heavily on how serious the burn is. A 1st degree burn is the least severe of burns, burning only the outside layer of skin. A 2nd degree burn burns both the outer layer of skin and the lower layer of skin. A 2nd degree burn often causes white, blotchy, wet, and shiny looking skin. 1st and 2nd degree burns, if not widespread, can be treated at home. However, it is very important to be seen immediately for burn treatment if you have a 3rd or 4th degree burn. While mild burns take a week or two to heal, these severe burns can take a much longer time.
Immediate Treatment of a Burn
The first thing you should do after receiving any burn is to remove all clothing and jewelry from the affected area. Next, you should run cool (not frigid) water over the burn. After running cool water over the burn for a good amount of time, you should wash the area with soap and water. A cold compress should be applied to the burn as soon as you have washed it. This will help reduce swelling and pain, but should not be done too many times during the day (excessively using a cold compress can irritate a burn).
Aloe vera, a plant that is well-known for treating burns, is a great way to heal your burns. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties, promotes circulation, and protects a burn from the growth of bacteria. You can squeeze aloe from the plant itself and apply it directly onto the burn. You can also find aloe vera at most drug stores, but make sure that your purchase has a high percentage of aloe vera.
Using over-the-counter antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin is another good way to avoid an infected burn. Lightly wrap gauze around the area after applying ointment and make sure to change the wrapping when re-applying. If you do not want to use these ointments, honey is a good option. Honey has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties and can be applied topically.
Remedies to Avoid
While aloe vera, antibiotic ointments, and honey are great at-home remedies, some other supposed remedies are not actually so helpful. For instance, using butter on a burn can make it worse because butter can retain heat and contain harmful bacteria. Oil is another big “remedy” that hurts more than helps. Just like butter, oil retains heat and can make your burn even worse.
Egg whites are another supposed “help” to burns. Placing egg whites on your burn can put you at risk for a bacterial infection. Toothpaste may seem like it would soothe a burn, but it can irritate your burn and actually make it a better breeding ground for bacteria. One of the remedies that seems like it would help the most, ice, can actually make things even worse. Ice doesn’t only irritate your burn, but it can cause a cold burn or frostbite if held against the burn.
When to Be Seen for a Burn
If your burn, no matter what degree, covers a large portion of your body, you should seek out medical attention as soon as possible. 3rd and 4th degree burns are so severe that they require immediate attention. It isn’t wise to wait when you have a burn, but sometimes it’s hard to be seen quickly by a medical professional.
With our urgent care, you can be seen on the same day for your burn. With our immediate services, there’s no worry of waiting around a few days to see a regular doctor in absolute agony. BASS Advanced Urgent Care is well-equipped to care for your burn as soon as possible.