At some point, we’ve all gotten burned. For most people, these burns aren’t the worst. However, not all burns are something that can be easily healed, and more serious burns often require medical attention. To help identify a serious burn and learn how to manage one, read on:
Burns in General
In general, there are a few things all burns have in common. First, all burns involve extreme temperatures damaging skin tissue, with levels of severity depending on how deep the tissue damage goes. Burns can be caused by electricity, hot liquids, sunlight, hot surfaces, fire, and hot things in general, but frostbite is also often considered a type of burn as well. Regardless of burn intensity, it is important to see a doctor if the hands, face, groin, or joints are burned at all.
1st Degree Burns
First degree burns are the most common kind of burn, and the ones most people are familiar with. Someone may get a first-degree burn from touching a hot stove or hair iron, and while these burns may hurt and leave a scar, they are considered the least serious of the three kinds of burns.
If you get a first-degree burn, always cool the burned area immediately. You can do this by running cool (not cold) water over the burn, or by placing a towel with an ice pack over the affected area. Once the pain subsides, keep the burn moist using petroleum jelly, and consider gently bandaging the area if necessary. Try to avoid picking at the burn, or letting it scrape against a rough surface that may damage scabs. Burns often heal slowly.
2nd Degree Burns
With a second-degree burn, tissue damage affects more than the first layer of skin. Because of this, these burns will often appear puffy or discolored while they heal. These burns may also blister and cause scars.
When treating a second-degree burn, always cool the burn before applying any bandages or medications. The lower layers of skin damaged by a burn may get worse if nothing is done, so cooling is always the first step. From there, you may need to clean the burn. To do so, always use clean hands and tools—blisters can get easily infected—and gently wash the area with clean, cool water. Sometimes the skin will peel off while washing the burn. Don’t try to peel any excess skin off yourself. From there, let your burn air out until the skin has been completely cooled. You may bandage your burn after the skin cools, so the heat won’t be trapped underneath the skin and potentially cause more harm.
3rd Degree Burns
Generally, it is best to call a doctor if someone gets a third-degree burn. Since these burns cause massive damage deep underneath the skin, they will not heal properly without medical attention. Third-degree burns hurt and must be treated right away to prevent the victim from going into shock. Do not attempt to manage third-degree burns alone.
Depending on the burn’s severity and location, skin grafts may be necessary during the healing process. These burns take a long time to heal but can be treated given time and energy.
If you or a loved one has concerns over burns, burn risks, and frostbite, contact your primary care physician. To browse burn and wound treatment products, visit the Medical Supply Depot.