When it comes to household burns, they can be triggered by various unforeseen events such as exposure to steam from a boiling teapot, splash of oil while frying or unintentionally grasping a heated styling tool. The initial reaction of many individuals is to reach out for thick skin cream or other greasy topical ointment. On the other hand, some of the commonly used household treatments should be avoided. With proper first aid, there is no need to utilize any type of cream when treating minor burns.
What is the first step?
Before applying anything on the burn, you have to use proper first aid. Initially, remove any jewelry and clothing around the burn site. Immerse the burn in cool water between 50-77 degrees F. Avoid using ice or ice water since they can cause rapid cooling of the body that can aggravate the burn.
Pat the skin dry and apply clean, fresh gauze to prevent exposure to the air. Over-the-counter pain medications can be given to minimize the pain and inflammation. As an added measure, you can apply certain types of skin creams over the burn.
What are safe topical treatments?
The suitable topical treatments when caring for burns include antibiotic creams, aloe vera gel or even anesthetic creams. Aside from these options, it is also recommended to use calendula tincture or simply fresh aloe vera gel from an actual plant.
All you have to do is to slice a lower leaf close to the middle stalk and de-spine the edges. You can use a knife to trim the leaf in a lengthwise manner and rub gently on the burn. Take note that fresh aloe vera gel is an ideal remedy for thermal burns, sunburns and other forms of skin irritation. If gels from the pharmacies are used, make sure that you will choose a product that contains the highest content of aloe vera.
What to avoid
The home remedies for burns such as applying margarine, butter, cooking oil or any type of thick, greasy ointment are no longer advisable. These oily substances will only cause the skin to retain heat and aggravate the burn, thus contributing to the risk for infection. The application of margarine or butter on a burn is useless.
Assessment of the burn
Before treating a burn at home, you have to ensure that it is not a serious case. Home care for burns can be provided for first-degree burns that only involve the exterior skin layer and minimal second-degree burns.
When to seek medical care
Always bear in mind that it is not advisable to self-treat any type of burn if it spans a large area in the body or if located on the feet, hands, groin, face, buttocks or a major joint. Third-degree burns and those that are accompanied by difficulty breathing, severe pain and weakness requires immediate medical care.