Most of us get a burn at one time or another because we just can't ignore the lure of that beautiful ball of fire in the sky--the sun. Of course, we don't purposely go out trying to achieve one of those painful sunburns. They just sneak up on us while we are enjoying ourselves on a beautiful summer's day. Then there are those burns that we get in the kitchen or bathroom. Most cooks get too close to the flame more than once in their lifetime either by trying to pick up a scalding hot pan or in trying to remove something from the fire. In the bathroom, it is those hot curling irons that usually get us. Burns happen and, when they do, we want to know how to soothe them quickly, efficiently, and with the least amount of skin damage possible. Read on to learn how to soothe a burn.
Things You'll Need
- <br>Gauze or other soft material for compresses
- <br>Vitamin supplements A, C, E, Echinacea, St. John's Wart and/or zinc
- <br>Analgesic cream or other burn soothing lotions, creams or gels
- <br>Household items like chamomile tea, corn starch, honey, mint, oatmeal, starch and potato
- <br>Soothing agents like baby powder, calamine lotion and witch hazel
- <br>Moisturizes like aloe vera, cocoa butter or vitamin E
Determine the type of burn. Chemical burns, sunburns, electrical burns and others are all a bit different and some require slightly different treatments than others. For the purposes of this article, we are going to assume a standard burn like that which can be obtained by the sun, an open flame or a hot object.
If you have jewelry, clothing, or other items in the area of the burn, remove them. Jewelry can hold heat in and cause further heat damage. Clothing might catch fire (if you are exposed that way), restrict treatment to the area, or possibly become part of the burn. These are all things you must avoid.
Flush the burn with cool (not hot or cold). This can be done by putting the body part underneath a water stream or by soaking it via a sink or tub. If the burn is where you can't do either of these, then apply cool compresses to the burn site. Follow this procedure for about 10 to 20 minutes.
If the burn is dirty or has fabric or other items embedded within it, cleanse very gently with extremely mild soap.
Examine the burn carefully. If it is bright red, as opposed to a pinkish red, or if the skin is already beginning to blister or peel, cover the burn with clean gauze and make your way to the closest urgent care or emergency facility. While the burn may not need professional treatment, it is better to be safe that sorry. On the other hand, if the burn is obviously treatable at home, then proceed on to the next step.
Apply an analgesic cream or gel that contains aloe vera, benzocaine, camphor, lidocaine, menthol, and/or phenol if you want to temporarily relieve pain and suffering. Be certain that the product you choose is made for the "type" of burn you have have. Some of those on the market will specifically indicate that they are not appropriate for certain types of burns like those obtained by chemicals. Therefore, they should not be used for that purpose. If at all possible, choose an analgesic cream that also contains an antibiotic agent. Other common household items that might help sooth the burn are baby powder, calamine lotion or witch hazel, If you don't have that, try a natural soother like chamomile tea, corn starch, honey, lavender oil, mint, oat meal or raw potato.
Apply a moisturizing agent like cocoa butter or even vitamin E oil. But apply this only after the burn has been properly flushed and cleaned by water.
Cover the burn with clean gauze to protect it while it heals.
Drink lots of water until your burn heals completely. The extra moisture will help to soothe and heal the burn.
Consider taking vitamin supplements that will help your skin as it heals from the burn. Good ones to consider include vitamin A, C, E, Echinacea, St. John's Wart and/or zinc.
Take an anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin or Motrin for pain that isn't otherwise soothed away.
Contact a physician if the burn gets worse, doesn't appear to ease, or develops severe blisters or discoloration of any kind.
Tips & Warnings
- Keep some form of moisturizer or soothing agent on hand even if it is just the common household type.
- <br>If the above treatments do not seem to help, then go immediately to an urgent care or emergency facility.
- <br>Contact your doctor if at home treatments seem to make the burn worse instead of better.
- <br>Keep the burn clean and covered to prevent infection.
- <br>Use an antibacterial agent to prevent infection.
- Do not ignore a burn no matter how minor you think it might be.
- <br>Don't use butter as a soothing agent as recent studies indicate that unless it is pure, salt free butter, it may actually irritate the burn further.
- <br>Do not expose the burn to further irritation by the sun or other heat sources as these may multiply its negative effects.
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