Burns

Burns can vary from a minor skin irritation to a major emergency. They may vary in the total area of skin affected as well as the depth of burn. Minor burns can be cared for at home. Common burns on the college campus range from cigarette burns, cooking mishaps (touching a burner or spilling hot liquids on skin), “branding”, or sunburn. Other burns may be caused from fire, chemicals or electrical in nature.

1st degree burn: Affects only the outer layer of skin. Symptoms include redness, slight tenderness, minor swelling. Heals within several days to 1 week. Ex: Minor sunburn

2nd degree burn: Affects first and second layers of skin. Symptoms include redness and blisters, very tender, swelling, may ooze clear liquid, scarring possible. Often heal in 2-3 weeks.

3rd degree burn: Most severe with damage to the full thickness of skin and nerve damage causing numbness and severe scarring. Skin may be charred black or white. May need surgery, skin grafts, physical therapy or rehabilitation. Seek immediate medical attention at a local hospital’s Emergency Department.

 

First Aid/ Treatment:

1st degree burn: Rinse or submerge in cool water to reduce pain and burning sensation. DO NOT USE ICE. Take over the counter pain relievers (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) as directed if needed for pain relief. Apply Aloe Vera gel or cream. May cover lightly with bandage to protect affected area. Avoid using cotton balls or butter on burns. Follow up with a healthcare provider if over the counter treatments are not working.

2nd degree burn: Rinse or submerge affected area in cool water to reduce pain and burning sensation. DO NOT USE ICE. Take over the counter pain relievers (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) as directed. Do not pop blisters!! Cover lightly with non-adherent bandage. May use antibiotic cream as needed on blisters. Avoid using cotton balls or butter on burns. If burns cover more than 10% of body surface, seek medical attention right away. Otherwise, schedule appointment with healthcare provider if over the counter treatments are not working, if the wound shows any signs of infection, or if any concerns exist about the surface area or depth involved. Prescription burn medications may be prescribed to assist with pain and healing.

3rd degree burn: Seek medical attention immediately. Call 911 or visit the nearest hospital’s Emergency Department.