Burns are injuries to tissue caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, or radiation. Thermal and chemical burns usually occur due to exposure to heat or chemicals to the skin. Thus, skin usually sustains the brunt of the damage, however, severe burns can even penetrate to body structures such as fat, muscle, or bone. Burns are classified as either mild, moderate, or severe.
The most immediate treatment for burns, both thermal and chemical, is to stop the injury from progressing. Clothing covered with chemicals or hot substances should be removed immediately, and the injured skin should be placed in cold water, not ice. If done immediately, immersion in cold water can reduce the depth and total area of a burn. After these initial measures, the goals of treatment are pain relief and proper healing of the affected area. For minor burns, over the counter pain relievers and topical ointments will provide adequate protection.
For deeper, blistered burns, you should first make sure to leave the blister alone, if it is intact. You should use petroleum jelly and a light gauze wrap to protect it. When the blister bursts, remove the collapsed skin with sterile tweezers and gentle washing. Continue to use gauze to protect the blister and change the dressing once or twice daily to prevent it from becoming soggy and breaking down the skin.
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen will control pain and swelling of the injury.
Treatment for burns is available now at Newport Urgent Care in Newport Beach, CA.
For more information on burns, see the following websites:
Medline Plus (NIH) Burns Page
Burns: Taking Care of Burns – FamilyDoctor.org
Information on Burns – from the Merck Online Medical Library
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