Burn Injuries: Treatment and Prevention
Updated: Dec 12, 2021
Burn injuries are a common trauma that can affect anyone, anytime and anywhere. These injuries can be caused by friction, cold, heat, radiation, chemical or electric sources, but the majority of burn injuries are caused by heat from hot liquids, solids or fire.
Immediate Treatment of First-Degree Burns
For immediate treatment of first-degree burns at home, place the wound under cold water for 10-15 minutes. Cold water helps to ease the pain and reduce the amount of damage. If after 10-15 minutes the burn blisters or chars, see a doctor immediately. For further treatment, contact a doctor.
Immediate Treatment of Second- and Third-Degree Burns
For immediate treatment of second-degree burns at home, wrap the affected area in a moist dressing, sterile if available. Then call 9-1-1 immediately. These types of burns leave the body prone to infection since the skin is burned away.
Stopping the Burning Process
If your clothes are on fire: Stop, Drop, and Roll. Be sure you have completely smothered the fire out before stopping. This method is now referred to as Stop, Drop, and Rock because rolling over and over is not necessarily safe in many locations and may fan the flames. Instead, you just need to rock back in forth so that your body does one complete roll. While you stop, drop, and rock, be sure to cover your face with your hands.
Once your clothes have stopped burning, remove the burned clothing immediately. You want to remove the heat from your body as quickly as possible to prevent further injury. Remove all jewelry, belts, and tight clothing from the burned area immediately before swelling of the burned area occurs. Make sure you treat the wound as soon as possible.