Burns occur when the body is subjected to intense heat or certain types of chemicals that cause damage to the tissue. These common injuries require specialized care to prevent further tissue damage or infection. While many burns can be treated at home, if you aren’t sure how to address a burn or cannot control bleeding and pain on your own, visit your hospital emergency room immediately for treatment.
Treating a Minor Burn
Minor burns affect only the top layers of the skin; these burns are typically characterized by red, swollen, and painful skin. More significant burns may also cause blisters. To treat a minor burn, cool the area by running it under cold water for 10-15 minutes until the pain has diminished. Alternatively, you can place a cool, wet cloth against the skin or soak the burn in a sink or tub of cold water. Avoid using ice to cool a burn. Once the burn is cool, wash the area carefully with soap and water and cover the burn with a thin layer of aloe or petroleum; avoid using lotions, creams, or cortisones. Place gauze or a non-stick bandage over the burn and take over-the-counter medication to address any further pain and swelling.
Treating a Major Burn
Major burns should be considered medical emergencies. If a burn is very deep, larger than two inches in size, or concerns you in any way, you should visit an emergency room immediately. Chemical burns and burns that result directly from a fire or electrical equipment should also be treated by a physician. Furthermore, burns on the face, groin, hands, feet, knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist, or elbow should be evaluated by a medical professional, even if home care appears sufficient.
Largo Medical Center’s Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to treat medical emergencies in Pinellas County. Our emergency rooms treat more than 40,000 patients each year for injuries, illnesses, and more. You can learn more about the proper treatment of illnesses and injuries on our blog, or receive personalized advice by calling (727) 470-6826.