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How do you treat a burn?

Related Topics: Burn

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Internal Medicine
Emory University
131 Answers
108,494 Helpful Votes

First, err on the side of caution. Always see a medical professional for any burn that’s not obviously minor. That generally includes any burn that:

  • Is large
  • Involves the hands, feet, face, groin, or major joints 
  • Causes severe pain or loss of sensation
  • Causes skin changes besides simple redness, such as blistering
  • Causes skin redness that does not blanch white when pressed.

Immediately after a burn, run cool tap water over the skin for 10 minutes. Then, cool the skin with a moist compress. Don’t put ice, butter or anything else directly on the burned skin. Clean the skin gently with mild soap and tap water. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Aleve) for pain. Simple burns involving only the very surface of the skin do not need dressings.

A burn may appear minor at first, but reveal itself as more severe over hours or days. Burns of the hands or feet in particular can lead to disability if not treated properly. Always see a doctor to evaluate a burn that looks bad, or you’re not sure about.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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