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One of the most common household injury is Burn. Most of us must have experienced or seen minor burns and sometimes major burns. Burn is an injury to skin or deeper tissues which is caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, radiation, cold, sun, fire etc. Most of the burns are due to heat from hot liquids, fire, sun etc. It can also happen because of self- harm or violence between people. The degree of severity of burns is based on the size and depth of the burn. Treatment of burns depends upon the degree of burn. There are four categories of burns:
First degree burn-
Least severe burn affecting only the outer layer or superficial layer of skin. They appear red without blisters. Pain lasts for shorter duration for around 2-3 days and usually heals within a week.
Second degree burn-
This type also affects the deeper layers of skin. It is also known as partial- thickness burns. Blisters are usually present and is usually very painful. It usually take few weeks to heal and scarring may also occur.
Third degree burn-
This type of burn involves full thickness of skin. Usually there is no pain, the burnt area is stiff and healing does not take place on its own.
Fourth degree burn-
It is the most severe type of burn and also involves deeper tissues such as bones, muscles etc. This type of burn often leads to loss of the burned part.
First degree burns can be treated easily at home. Second degree burns without complications can also be treated at home. Rest two severe types of burn need proper medical treatment. Scalds are burns which are caused by hot liquids. They are also categorized in the same way. Let’s see about various home remedies for burns.
12 Home Remedies for Burns
Minor burns such as first degree and second degree, without complications, can be easily treated by home remedies. Burns can cause redness, pain, swelling, blisters, peeling etc depending upon the degree of burn. First of all stop burning immediately in all types of burns. After then go ahead for the home remedies. Let’s see how to treat minor burns at home.
1. Running Cool Water
Running cool water over minor burns soothe the burn. It also prevents further injury from the burn. Doing this for around 15- 20 minutes, cools the burned area. This reduces pain as well as prevents further injury or involvement of deeper layers of skin. Do not use ice or very cold water for cooling as they may worsen the burn wound. They can cause skin irritation and placing it for longer duration may also cause cold burn. Ice can restrict blood flow the burned area and further damages the tissue.
2. Cleaning and Cool Compression
Clean the burn after running cool water over it, this prevents further chances of infect ion in the burn. Thereby, protects from complications and further medical treatment.
Cool compressions over the burn area helps to reduce the pain and swelling. Excessive cold compressions should not be used as they can cause more injury.
3. Antibiotic Ointments and Creams
Antibiotic ointments and creams such as bacitracin, Neosporin etc helps to prevent infections which can easily occur due to contamination with dirt etc. They also helps in healing of the burn wound. Antibiotic ointments are more helpful in open blisters. Bandages can also be applied over open blisters to prevent contamination with dirt and infection.
4. Use of Honey
Honey is a sweet, delicious food substance having anti- inflammatory, natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and soothing effects. Applying honey over the burn area may help in healing and prevent infections. It also reduces pain by its soothing effects.
5. Aloe Vera Gels and Creams
Aloe vera promotes circulation, has anti- inflammatory action and also prevents the burn from infections. One can apply pure aloe vera gel or creams over the burn to protect it. It also has soothing effects. Don’t apply any gel containing more additives and less amount of aloe vera. Its natural anti- bacterial actions stop the growth of bacteria in the burn wound.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is rich in vitamin E which is a strong antioxidant and also has skin healing properties. This oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. So, this oil helps in healing and also reduces the chances of infections. Massaging with coconut oil along with lemon juice on the scar of the burn may help to lighten the scar mark.
7. Protect the Burn
In the treatment of burn, protection of it is one of the most important thing. Protection reduces the chances of complications in the burn wound. Burn wound should be covered with sterile, clean and non-adhesive bandage or cloth. Don’t apply ointments or butter which can cause infections in the burn area. One can apply antibiotic ointments or creams over the burn wound. Keep the area as much clean as possible to avoid infections.
8. Treat the Pain and Burning Sensation
As the burn can cause pain and burning sensation ranging from mild to severe, treating the pain and burning sensation reduces the problems. To reduce the pain, one can take over the counter available pain killers or non- steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Aceclofenac etc. Their anti-inflammatory action also reduces the redness in the burn area.
9. Avoid Exposure to Sun
Burned skin is very sensitive to sun light. Also, the heat of the sun light may also cause damage to the already burned skin. So, minimal exposure to sun helps in both reducing the pain and the risk of worsening the burn.
10. Don’t pop the blisters
Blisters usually do not occur in first degree burn. They are usually seen in second degree and more severe types. Popping the blisters increases the chances of infection and infection can occur easily. So, to avoid infections do not pop the blisters. Apply antibiotic ointments or creams over it.
11. Applying Toothpaste
Although the effectiveness of toothpaste on the burn wound is not proven, but in minor burns such as caused due to accidentally touching something hot, it is helpful. One can keep a toothpaste in the kitchen in the first aid kit to relieve minor burn wound. First of all, cool the burn with cool water, then gently dry it and apply a layer of toothpaste. Toothpaste helps in reducing pain and soothes the burn.
12. Sunscreen and Sun-protective Clothing
Sunburn is a form of radiation injury resulting from overexposure to ultraviolet rays such as sun rays. It commonly causes reddish or red skin, which is hot to the touch, pain, weakness, fatigue and dizziness. It occurs due to inflammation caused by direct DNA damage. So, avoid overexposure to sun light and protect yourself by applying sunscreen lotions, wearing sun- protective clothing etc. Also, keep yourself hydrated by taking plenty of water and liquids.
Things to Remember
In any type of burn, there are few things to remember always and do it immediately to minimize the problems.
1. Stop Burning Immediately
Any type of burn should be stopped immediately to reduce further damage. It is easy to treat mild to moderate burns than the severe ones. Severe burns may also cause loss of the body part. So, first of all always stop burning immediately.
If it is hot liquid, chemicals or steam, stop the person’s contact with that immediately. In case of fire, put out fire. Remove smoldering material from the person and remove hot or burning clothing.
2. Remove Tight Clothing, Jewellery Immediately
Remove all the tight clothing, belts, jewellery etc immediately. Swelling can occur immediately after burn. If clothing etc sticks to the skin, then tear or cut to remove and cool the burn.
3. Seek Medical Help
In case of minor burns, seek medical help when signs of infection are there such as increased pain, swelling, redness, oozing or fever. If the size of blister is more than 2-3 inches and oozing, then medical treatment is required. Otherwise, minor burns can heal easily by home remedies. The person also needs tetanus or booster injection depending upon the date of last injection. Antibiotics and pain relieving medications are also required.
In case of second degree burns or more severe burns, one should prevent shock condition of the person. Lay down the person with burns flat and cover with blanket or coat. Raise the burned area than heart level. Seek medical help immediately, as this need assessment of the severity and accordingly the treatment. Check the pulse and breathing to monitor shock. As third and fourth degree burn may result in permanent scarring and also have potential to cause death, so one should see doctor immediately to avoid these complications.
Burn is one of the most common household injury and the severity of it depends upon the type, duration of contact with the injurious agent. It can occur due to hot liquids, various chemicals, steam, fire, heat, cold, electricity etc. There are four types of burns based on the severity of the burn. Minor burns can easily heal with the home remedies where as severe burn needs proper medical treatment. Antibiotics and pain relieving medications are helpful to protect from the infections and relieve pain. One should not neglect burn and seek medical treatment on time.