Burn Care 101: Basic First Aid Vs When to Seek Emergency Treatment

Thursday, September 20th, 2018, 6:20 pm

Burns are some of the most common household injuries, so it’s important to become familiar with basic burn first aid and recognize when to seek emergency treatment. The good news is that most burns are minor and can be treated at home, but severe burns pose serious risks and complications. Educate yourself now so you can act appropriately in the future.

An Introduction to Burns

Burns are categorized as being first, second, or third degree. Everything from scalding liquids and fires to excessive sun exposure can cause burns on the skin.

  • First degree burns: affect the top layer of skin with redness, minor swelling and pain

  • Second degree burns: damage extends beyond top layer of skin, causes skin to blister and become very sore

  • Third degree burns: most severe burns that affect every layer of skin and turn skin a waxy, white color

At-Home Burn Care Basics

First degree burns can be treated at home without medical attention. Try soaking the wound in cool water for 10 minutes and taking ibuprofen for pain relief. You can also apply an antibiotic ointment to the burn and wrap it in loose gauze to protect the affected area.

Keep in mind that while cool water helps, ice makes the burn worse. It’s also not a good idea to use cotton balls on the burn, since the cotton fibers stick to the injury and trigger infection.

Second degree burns can also be treated at home if they are small in nature. Use the same methods described above for a first degree burn, but keep in mind that these burns take a few weeks to heal and must be kept clean to avoid infection of the open blisters.

When to Seek Emergency Care

If your first or second degree burn covers a large area of skin, or if it is located on your face or a major joint, it’s wise to seek medical attention. Third degree burns should always receive emergency care immediately due to their severity. In the case of a third degree burn, pain might not even occur due to nerve damage, so call 911 immediately with the following symptoms:

  • Waxy, white color skin

  • Charred skin

  • Raised and leathery skin texture

For immediate burn care, visit Suncoast UCC in Trinity or Spring Hill, Florida. Suncoast UCC offers walk-in urgent care services with flexible hours so you can get the care you need, when you need it. Call (727) 372-3888 to learn more

back to top


Category: Injuries


Leave a Reply




Contact Us Today!

Locate Our Offices