How to treat a skin burn

It’s common for most people to experience a burn during their lifetime, and yet most people remain unable to identify the severity of a burn — or the correct way to treat it. Here at Cheshire Fire, we understand that most burns are minor and will heal themselves within two weeks. However, ensuring you treat the burn correctly will help to speed up the healing process and avoid any nasty complications. This article is going to look at the different types of skin burns and how to treat them effectively.

Minor burns vs major burns

The appearance of the burn, along with symptoms such as pain, can inform you of the burn’s severity. Burns are typically classified in degrees of seriousness: first, second and third.

  • First degree burns are the most common and will be experienced by almost everyone at some point in their lives. These burns affect only the outer layer of skin. They will appear red and a little swollen.
  • Second degree burns will be accompanied by pronounced pain and noticeable blistering.
  • Third degree burns, the most severest type of burn, affect the deeper tissue of the affected area. These burns can be brown, black or white in appearance and will exhibit a leathery texture. Paresthesia or numbness may also be experienced, due to the nerves beneath the surface tissue becoming irritated or damaged.

Treating a minor skin burn

First degree burns can be treated at home using the following methods:

  • Apply cool water to the burn. Do not use very cold water or ice. Though this is the remedy most people turn to, doing so can actually damage the tissue further.
  • Once the skin has cooled, use a moisturising lotion, such as aloe vera, to soothe the skin.
  • Wrap the burn in a clean, dry, cotton cloth.
  • Use ibuprofen to relieve pain and swelling. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory, and is therefore better equipped at reducing pain caused by inflammation than alternatives such as paracetamol.

Treating a major skin burn

Second and third degree burns require urgent medical attention from a doctor. We highly recommend visiting a medical specialist as soon as possible. The following tips can also help ensure you take the correct steps to treat either yourself or someone else immediately after a serious burn has occurred:

  • If someone has been badly burned and are unconscious as a result, remove the cause of the burn, check that they’re breathing and apply CPR if necessary.
  • Wrap the burn in a thick, dry, cotton cloth.
  • Raise the body part above the level of the heart if possible.
  • Visit a hospital or call for an ambulance.

What not to do

It’s also important you avoid these common misconceptions about how to treat a skin burn:

  • Don’t apply very cold water or ice to a new burn.
  • Only apply water to a burn if it is closed. Water applied to an open burn can invite bacteria into the wound.
  • Don’t remove clothing that is stuck to the burn without the assistance of a medical professional. Doing so can cause further damage and create wounds that are susceptible to infection.

Cheshire Fire is your first stop for your definitive fire safety needs. We’ve been providing fire safety training, equipment and guidance to customers throughout Cheshire for over 25 years. Whether needed for domestic or commercial use, we have the solution that can help you stay safe all year round. To learn more about the extensive range of products and services we offer, browse our website or give our friendly team a call today.