Any type of burn on the skin can be very painful. The tissues of the skin cannot tolerate being exposed to excessive heat and this can lead to different levels of damage. There are four classifications of the severity of burns on the skin. Ranging from mild to highly severe, burns are classified as first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, or fourth-degree. Unlike the other classifications of burns, a first-degree burn can sometimes be treated without the assistance of a medical professional.
First-degree burns may include a mild sunburn, a slight burn from overly warm running water, or a burn from accidentally touching a hot stove for only a split second. This type of burn may appear slightly red, sting or ache when it occurs, and have a small amount of swelling or a tiny blister on the affected area. First-degree burns also involve only a small area of the skin. These are some steps to treating a first-degree burn at home.
Cooling The Skin
The first thing you need to do if you receive a first-degree burn is to cool the temperature of the skin down as quickly as possible. This stops the skin from continuing to burn even though it is no longer exposed to the hot element that caused the burn. This can be done by holding the burned area of skin under cool running water or applying a cold compress to the affected area for up to 20 minutes. The more quickly the skin is cooled down, the more quickly the burning and discomfort will stop.
Cleaning The Burn
Once you have cooled the skin down, it is important to clean the burned area. Use a gentle antibacterial soap and cool water to clean the area without scrubbing. Rinse the skin and allow it to air dry or gently pat it dry with sterile gauze. This helps to keep an infection from developing in the burned tissue.
After the skin is dry, you can apply an aloe vera lotion or gel to the burn. Aloe vera has healing properties that will help the burn heal more quickly. Apply a thin layer to the burn and gently spread it over the entire surface of the burn. You can use a medicated antibiotic cream instead of aloe vera if you prefer it. This medication also has ingredients that help burns heal.
Bandaging The Burn
Finally, after you have applied aloe vera lotion or antibiotic cream, you will want to bandage the burn as well. This will help keep germs and bacteria from getting into your wound so that it does not get infected. Be sure to change the bandage at least two to three times a day to best keep your burn free of germs.
If you follow these steps, your burn should begin to heal within only a few days. However, if you have a deeper, more severe burn that is located in a larger area of skin, be sure to seek medical care right away.
To learn more about burn treatment procedures, contact a medical professional in your area.