Minor burns can occur at home especially in the kitchen or in the workplace. Depending on the cause of the burn, it is important that you are prepared to manage minor burns. As for burns that appear severe, it is best to seek medical care so that proper assessment and treatment can be carried out.
- Cool the skin under running water for at least 10 minutes, ideally within 20 minutes after the injury to prevent the burn from getting worse.
- Avoid using ice, iced water or greasy substances to soothe the burn.
- Remove any clothing or jewelry close to the burn unless they are sticking to it.
- Cover the burn using strips of cling film. Another option is a clean plastic bag for burns on the hand.
- In case the burn is painful, use a mild pain medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Always check the packaging first to ensure that the right dosage is used.
- Do not break any blisters. If a burn is excruciating or seems to get worse, consult a doctor or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department.
If in doubt if further medical care is required, call for emergency assistance. Large-sized or deep burns or those on the hands as well as the face or over joints must be carefully assessed by a doctor so that proper treatment can be started.
Treatment for chemical burns
Chemicals such as acid or bleach can cause burns on the skin. When an individual sustains a minor burn after exposure to these chemicals, there are measures to carry out.
- Wear appropriate protective gloves and remove any chemicals from the skin by running the burned area under cool water for 20 minutes. If the chemical is in powder form such as lime, you have to brush it off the skin before running the skin under water.
- Remove any clothing or jewelry that might be exposed to the chemical.
- Place a cool moist towel to reduce the pain.
If the individual experiences increased pain in the burn site, you have to wash the skin again for several more minutes. Call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department so that the burn is carefully examined and properly treated if needed.
Treatment for electrical burns
Electrical burns might not appear serious but they can cause a lot of damage. An individual who sustained an electrical burn must seek immediate medical care. It is recommended to bring the individual to the nearest emergency department or call for emergency assistance.