Minor burns can sometimes be treated at home, or with the help of a physician. A physician can help determine the degree of burning you’re experiencing and what the proper course of treatment should be. A minor burn refers to first and second-degree burns, those affecting only the top layers of the skin. Anything more severe is considered a major burn and should be treated with emergency medical help.
Your symptoms and the cause of your burn can help determine which degree of burning you are experiencing. First degree burns only affect the outer layer of skin and will be painful, swell, and turn red. Second-degree burns go one layer deeper and will be painful, swell, turn red, and also blister.
Signs that should be treated as a severe burn with immediate medical attention include:
- A burn worse than a sunburn on sensitive areas such as the face, ears, eyes, hands, feet, genitals, and joints.
- Severe pain or pain that lasts more than 48 hours
- Signs of infection such as a red streak from the burn, pus, or fever
- A burn on a child younger than five
- An electrical burn or burn caused by a fire
- A burn covering more than one-fourth of a body part
Causes of Minor Burns
Minor burns are often caused by high heat from hot foods and liquids, hot pans or other surfaces, cooking appliances such as the oven or stove top, or another heat source such as a curling iron. Other mild burns can be caused by contact with certain chemicals or from overexposure to sunlight.
Treatment for Minor Burns
After a burn occurs, you should follow the correct at-home treatment steps. This includes:
- Cooling the burn – Use cool running water or a cold cloth, not ice, as this could damage the tissue even more.
- Apply moisture – Aloe Vera can help soothe pain.
- Avoid breaking blisters – If the blister does break, clean and wrap the area.
- Protect the area – Cover the area with a bandage and avoid sun exposure.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever – Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can relieve pain.
If at-home treatment fails to improve minor burns, or if you develop large blisters, you might seek treatment from a physician to properly treat and protect the area to avoid infection. If you are experiencing a first or second-degree minor burn, you can visit Springfield Urgent Care for an examination and assistance.