How to Administer First Aid Treatment for a Steam Burn

(Image: First aid image by lefebvre_jonathan from

Steam is silent but dangerous. If you are preparing comfort food, such as macaroni and cheese, steam from your pot can make you uncomfortable in a hurry. You need to know basic first aid that will help you deal with your burn injury. Although one first aid treatment may be helpful for a first degree burn, another burn treatment may be better to use for a third degree burn. Be sure to follow the tips below, and don't let the fear of a steam burn make you afraid of steam cooking.

Things You'll Need

  • Aloe vera lotion
  • Non-adhesive gauze
  • Silvadene-Silver Sulfadiazine-Cream (recommended)

Analyze the severity of the burn. First aid treatment will not be beneficial if the burn injury is so severe in nature that emergency treatment is required. If the burn is blistered, has open skin or is large (bigger than 2 to 3 inches in diameter) treat it as a major burn and seek medical attention. While evidence of a severe burn is usually obvious, hidden injuries such as respiratory damage from inhalation may require immediate attention from a medical professional.

Rinse a mild burn in cold water, or soak a burned hand or foot in a cool water bath. If the burn is large (bigger than your palm) or you believe it to be more severe than a mild burn, do not run the burn under cold water as this may cause the body to go into shock.

If the steam burn is mild--a first degree burn--you can cover the burn with a sterile gauze or dressing and even use some over-the-counter soothing lotions or gels intended for burn use. Do not cover severe burn with any lotions, butter (an old wives' tale), creams or household remedies.

Cover the burn with a light and non-adhesive gauze. Again, if it is a mild burn (first-degree) you can apply antibiotic ointment before covering it up. If you have a severe burn injury, you should be careful not to allow clothes or gauze to stick to the burned area.

Don't pop blisters from the burn. When healing from a burn injury, the worst thing you can do is to fiddle with it. Infection may follow if you're not careful. Rather, permit these wounds to heal over time. Make sure to keep your injury cleaned and re-dress it a few times each day.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use oven mitts when handling a steam-filled pot. Also, always lift a lid at an angle away from your body or arm when steam cooking.
  • If you see signals of an infection, don't let things get worse. Instead, visit an emergency room, or receive consultation from a private practitioner.

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