Extensive burns or burns causing more than minor discomfort should be treated by a healthcare professional. For superficial burns caused by temperature (picking up a hot object, for example), natural medicine may be helpful after the burn is cleaned with soap and cold water and gently dried.
A burn is damage to your body's tissues caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight or radiation. Scalds from hot liquids and steam, building fires and flammable liquids and gases are the most common causes of burns.
Types of Burns
To distinguish a minor burn from a serious burn, the first step is to determine the degree and the extent of damage to body tissues. The three classifications of first-degree burn, second-degree burn and third-degree burn will help you determine emergency care.
First Aid for Burns
Minor burns usually heal without further treatment. They may heal with pigment changes, meaning the healed area may be a different color from the surrounding skin. Watch for signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, fever, swelling or oozing. If infection develops, seek medical help.
Avoid re-injuring or tanning if the burns are less than a year old ? doing so may cause more extensive pigmentation changes. Use sunscreen on the area for at least a year.
First remove any constricting jewelry, such as rings.
Do NOT use butter or oils on a burn.
The effected area should be dowsed with cool water as soon as possible. It can be cleansed gently with chlorhexidine solution. Do NOT apply ice or cool to near-freezing temperatures (this can cause additional tissue injury).
A tetanus booster should be obtained if not administered within the previous 5 years.
Treatment of Burns
The treatment depends on what kind of burn you have. If a first- or second-degree burn covers an area larger than 2 to 3 inches in diameter, or is on your face, hands, feet or genitals, you should see a doctor right away. Third-degree burns require emergency medical attention. Do not put butter, oil, ice or ice water on burns. This can cause more damage to the skin.
Prevention of Burns - Steps you can take
Keep matches, lighters, chemicals, and lit candles out of your child's reach.
Put child-safety covers on all electrical outlets.
Get rid of equipment and appliances with old or frayed cords and extension cords that look damaged.
If you need to use a humidifier or vaporizer, use a cool-mist model rather than a hot-steam one.
Choose sleepwear that's labeled flame retardant (either polyester or treated cotton). Cotton sweatshirts or pants that aren't labeled as sleepwear generally aren't flame retardant.
Make sure older children are especially careful when using irons or curling irons.
Prevent house fires by making sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home and in each bedroom. Check these monthly and change the batteries twice a year.
Don't smoke inside, especially when you are tired, taking medications that can make you drowsy, or in bed.
Don't use fireworks or sparklers.
Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove every time you cook.