Remedies For Skin Burns
Getting burnt or scalded can be a nasty, painful, and terrible experience. While some burns might require a trip to the hospital or even urgent medical attention, the common minor burns we usually suffer at home or in the sun can be treated with quick and effective remedies that only require one or two household items in the kitchen, or bought from the store.
Whether it’s getting burnt by touching a hot stove, stretching iron, spilling hot liquids on our skin, or being overly exposed to the scorching heat of the sun, most times our first course of action is to run water over the affected site and use an ointment to soothe the pain.
This isn’t wrong of course, but what if there are other quick methods you can adopt to treat the burn, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and prevent infection?
What if some of the things you use to treat burns are not medically recommended and may cause more harm than good? And lastly, how do you differentiate between a burn that can be treated at home and one that needs medical care? Read on to find the answers.
HOW SEVERE IS YOUR BURN?
Before treating a burn at home, it is pertinent you understand the type of burn you have. Medically, burns are classified based on their level of severity. These are :
First-Degree-Burns: These types of burns are considered the least severe as they affect only the outer layer of the skin. They are usually red, painful, and a bit swollen in appearance. The affected skin may turn white when pressure is applied to it. These are the burns that can be treated at home.
Second-Degree-Burns: They usually form painful and thick blisters. They make the skin look splotchy, red, and swollen. Second-degree-burns affect the outer layer of the skin and the dermis.
Third-Degree-Burns: These type of burns affects all layers of the skin. They also damage the nerves and tissues and often cause very little or no pain. Third-degree-burns cannot be treated at home as they require urgent medical attention.
Fourth-degree-burns: This is considered the most severe type of burn, it damages all layers of the skin and penetrates the muscles, bones, and tendons. They may be life-threatening and often lead to bone and joint problems.
HOME REMEDIES FOR MILD BURNS
You can quickly treat a mild burn at home using some household and kitchen items. The purpose of treatment is to relieve pain and counteract infections. Mild burns do not take time to heal and they often do not leave scars when healed. It is important to treat mild burns properly and immediately to avoid further complications.
The first point of action when you get a burn is to run it under cool water for about 15 to 20 minutes. The water helps to dispel heat from the burn and reduces inflammation. Next, clean the affected area by washing it with mild soap and water. Make sure to cleanse the area properly to prevent the risk of infection, and then apply an ointment, antibiotic cream, or petroleum jelly.
You can use a cool compress to reduce pain and inflammation. A clean wet cloth can also serve as a compress. Place the cloth over the burn for about 10 to 15 minutes. In the event that blisters form, use a bandage to wrap the burn. You can also use over-the-counter pain relievers to help with pain if you still feel uncomfortable.
Aloe vera is one common household plant that is famous for its numerous health benefits. Aside from using it as a mask for your face and other things, you can use aloe vera to treat a minor burn.
This plant has beneficial anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can protect against bacterial infection and provide soothing relief. It also encourages good blood circulation around the burn. For a better result, extract the gel from the plant and apply it to the burn.
You can also use the store-bought variety but you should check to see if the product contains sufficient amounts of aloe vera. Aloe Vera can be used to treat first and second-degree burns.
This sweet food substance is not just good for the taste buds, but it is also useful in treating and healing minor burns. It’s anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties is what makes it a good choice for healing burns. Honey can reduce the pain and discomfort associated with burns. It also contains fatty acids that help repair the skin. Simply use a cotton swab or a piece of clean cloth to fetch a small amount of honey and apply it over the burn area. The burn will likely heal in no time.
HOME REMEDIES YOU SHOULD NEVER USE ON A BURN
Putting the wrong things on a burn can exacerbate or worsen the symptoms. There are certain household ingredients and items that are touted as being beneficial for the treatment of burns, but in reality, they may only cause more complications. Below is a list of some of these items.
Butter: Contrary to popular belief, butter does not provide any form of relief for burns, but rather it delays the release of heat from the skin, which can make your symptoms worse.
Ice: While using ice on burns may be a touted remedy for burns, it may do more harm than good. Ice suppresses blood flow to the affected site and causes damage to the tissues. It can also irritate the burn and prevent quick healing.
Toothpaste: Applying toothpaste to burns can be harmful. It is not sterile and can provide room for an infection to develop. Also, the ingredients in toothpaste such as calcium and peppermint can irritate the burn.
Milk: The fat and protein in milk are believed to help treat burns, but this is just a misconception because milk cannot penetrate the skin. Milk also contains bacteria that can cause an infection.
Oils: All forms of oil including coconut oil are bad for burns. Like butter, they promote heat retention and can even cause more burns.
Egg white: There is no evidence to support the claim that egg whites are good for burns. Applying egg white to burns will only increase the risk of infecting the burn, this is because egg whites may harbor harmful bacteria.
Vinegar: Applying vinegar, especially in its concentrated form can cause further burning and severe pain.
SOME PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES TO TAKE WHEN YOU HAVE A BURN
When dealing with a burn or managing its symptoms, there are some precautionary measures you should observe. Some of these measures are highlighted below:
- Before treatment, remove any piece of clothing or jewelry around the affected area
- Always check the burn the moment it occurs to ascertain if you require medical treatment or not
- Observe the burn after initial first aid to check if it’s improving or not. This is necessary because first-degree burns can transform into second-degree-burns within a short period of time. If symptoms continue to worsen, seek medical care.
- Seek medical attention if you experience burns on the face, knees, shoulders, genitals, or any burn that is more than two inches in diameter.
- When a small blister forms a few hours after the burn, let it be. It is the body’s natural defense against infection. However, if the blister is bigger than the size of a thumbnail, you may require medical treatment.
- Do not pop blisters to avoid worsening the injury
- Protect the burn by limiting sun exposure and by covering it with a gauze bandage or a clean cotton material.
- Change your burn dressing daily until it heals to avoid further infections.
- Seek urgent medical care if a burn penetrates deep into the skin and blisters immediately or if it affects the muscles or bones.