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First Aid Tips for First, Second and Third Degree Burns

first aid tips for burns
HWC Team
August15/ 2015


Burns are the most painful ones that should be treated immediately before seeing a doctor. Minor burns can be cured through simple first aid treatment. First aid measures can promote healing and sometimes alleviates burns completely.

Minor or Major Burn?

We never knew what level of care should be taken until and unless we know the extent of tissue damage. Normally, burns are classified into three categories:

1st-Degree Burn

If only the outer layer of the skin is damaged, then the burn is classified as first degree. People with first degree burns will experience redness, pain and swelling. Generally, these can be healed by first aid treatment.

2nd-Degree Burn

Second-degree burns are considered as serious burns and may cause red, white or splotchy skin with swelling, pain and blisters. If the burn is no longer than three inches in diameter, then it is treated as minor burn, whereas, if the burn is larger and covers feet, hands, face, groin, then it is termed as a major burn.

3rd Degree Burns

Burns that involve all layers of the skin and underlying fat are considered as third degree burns. In these burns, both muscle and bone are affected. People experiencing these burns will suffer from breathing difficulty, carbon monoxide poisoning and other toxic effects.

First Aid for Minor Burns

Run Cool Water on the Burn

Place the burn area under cool running water for first 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, apply a clean towel dampened with cool tap water.

Don’t Break Small Blisters

If blisters break, then clean the area with mild soap and water. Later on, apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the area with a nonstick gauze bandage.

Moisturizer or Aloe Vera Lotion

Applying Moisturizer or aloe vera lotion or gel can provide relief in some cases. If required, take pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).

Consulting a doctor would be better if you develop large blisters or if you notice any kind of infection such as oozing from the wound and redness and swelling.

First Aid for Major Burns

Check for Signs of Circulation

Check for breathing, coughing or movement. Use Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) technique if required.

Remove Accessories

Take out jewelry, belts and other restrictive items from the burned areas. Burned areas swell quickly.

Don’t Run Cold Water on Severe Burns

Placing severe burnt area in cold water can cause a serious loss of body heat or drop in blood pressure and decreased blood flow.

Cover the Burnt Area

Cover the burnt area with a cool, moist, bandage or a clean cloth

In case of cold temperature burns, you can try first aid measures to warm the areas of your body. Cold areas can be warmed by blowing warm air on them or by placing them inside your clothing or putting them in warm water. On the other hand, thermal burns can be healed by running cool tap water over the burn for 10 to 20 minutes. Make sure that you don’t use ice.

Covering the burnt area with a clean and dry cloth is preferable always to reduce the risk of infection. Do not put ice, butter on the burned area because these measures will not help and can damage the skin tissue. So, try these first aid measures for burns to get some relief from pain.

HWC Team

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