How to Reduce the Pain Caused by a Burn

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Reduce the Pain Caused by a Burn
Reduce the Pain Caused by a Burn

How to Reduce the Pain Caused by a Burn. The pain associated with a burn, especially a particularly severe one, is perhaps one of the most intense forms of pain. The pain typically lasts longer than other kinds of pain. Fortunately, a number of steps can be taken to help reduce the amount of pain the patient feels from a burn injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Cool water
  • Clean towel

Assess the Burn Injury

Recognize the symptoms of a burn including pain, red or peeling skin, white or charred skin (usually present in the most severe or third-degree burns) and swelling. Secondary symptoms may also include shock and numbness, particularly in severe burns affecting both the skin and the underlying tissue.

Determine whether the patient has received a minor or severe burn by observing the affected skin. A first-degree burn is generally considered minor and only affects the topmost layer of skin, causing pain and redness. More severe burns include second or third-degree burns, going deeper than the epidermis and affecting a larger area of skin.

Treat Pain Caused by Minor Burns

Run cool water over the burned skin if the skin is unbroken. You may also soak it in a cool water bath to help alleviate the pain.

Avoid using ice to reduce the pain caused by a minor burn. A rapid cooling of the skin may cause additional damage.

Soak the burned area for at least 5 minutes. You may also use a clean towel, dipped in cold water and applied to the affected skin, to help reduce the pain.

Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or dressing. This will help prevent further pain by protecting the skin from friction and pressure.

Administer the appropriate dosage of ibuprofen or acetaminophen to the patient.

Tips & Warnings

  • While minor burns may generally heal on their own, major burns, affecting multiple layers of skin or covering a larger percentage of a person's body, require additional medical attention. Call 9-1-1 to request emergency assistance in treating the pain caused by a major burn.
  • Though your first inclination may be to soothe a burn by blowing on it, do not do so. This may introduce airborne germs and will increase the risk of infection. Never breathe, blow, or cough on a burn.
  • Never give aspirin to children under the age of 12, and always follow the manufacturer's or your doctor's dosing directions.

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