• June 11, 2015

How to Treat a Minor Burn

How to Treat a Minor Burn

There are many ways that you can get burned, and a variety of sources that may be the cause. Sunburn from over-exposure to the sun’s rays, scalding from hot liquids, chemical and electrical burns, and those from open flames all have the potential to be first-, second-, or third- degree burns that require different types of treatments.
Initially, burns that occur over three inches or more of your skin or those on the skin covering a joint or on your face should be treated at the walk-in clinic in Costa Mesa to determine the level of damage that has occurred and ensure that more aggressive treatment is not required. Some burns, such as those caused by chemicals or electricity, require urgent treatment because the greatest amount of damage may be inside. Minor or first-degree burns only affect the top layer of the skin and can usually be taken care of at home. Symptoms of a first-degree burn include red skin that may be accompanied by pain and/or swelling.
If you have received a minor burn, refrain from applying any type of ice or ice pack, burn cream or salve to the area before going to the clinic, so the doctor can appropriately diagnose your situation. In addition to being ineffective, some of these measures can damage the skin.  The only thing you should place on your skin prior to the visit to the walk-in clinic in Costa Mesa is a clean, dry cloth to prevent the spread of bacteria that can cause infection.
Once you have visited the urgent care center and confirmed that the burn is minor, follow these tips to help your skin heal:

  • Apply cool cloths to the affected area to relieve the heat
  • Refrain from taking showers or baths in warm or hot water
  • Apply pure aloe vera or products that contain the natural anti-inflammatory ingredient to relieve pain. Adults and children over the age of 2 may also use .5% hydrocortisone cream that is sold over the counter. Make sure to limit its use to those on the package, or according to the doctor’s instructions
  • Use over-the-counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen or aspirin (for adults over the age of 18) to relieve pain

As the burn begins to heal, peeling often occurs, as the damaged skin is shed from the body and replaced with a new skin layer. This can be accompanied by itching. Refrain from scratching the area by using chamomile lotion and keeping the area moist. If you cover the burned area, use loose gauze to allow it to breathe and prevent sticking. Never apply lotion with a cotton ball, to keep the cotton fibers from sticking to the skin. Taking the right approach to treatment will help speed up healing and reduce the amount of discomfort that accompanies the injury. To learn more about the recommended treatment of burns at any damage level, visit the walk-in clinic of Costa Mesa or call 949-548-8400.

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