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How to Treat a Burn: First, Second & Third Degree Burn Care

  • First-degree burns (Minor Burns): Redness and pain on the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and are considered mild when compared to other burns1
  • Second-degree burns: Deep burn with redness, blisters, considerable pain and swelling, that affects the outer and lower layers of skin (epidermis and dermis)1
  • Third-degree burns: Deep tissue destruction that affects the dermis and lower layers that results in a white or charred appearance. These burns can be numb1

Minor Burn Treatment:

  1. Remove clothing if it is not stuck to the burn
  2. If possible, hold burn under cool running water for 10-15 minutes until pain is reduced or apply a clean and wet cloth to the burn
  3. Once the burn is cooled, ensure that it is a minor burn. If it is not, seek medical attention immediately
  4. You can choose to apply a thin layer of ointment on the burn.
  5. To protect the burn from rubbing and pressure, apply a sterile non-stick piece of gauze to the burn and keep in place by using a medical tape or wrap. Change the dressing daily.
  6. For burn pain relief, take a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen and follow the directions on the bottle.2

For second and third degree burns, large burns, or burns on the hand, foot, face, groin, buttocks, hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist seek medical care immediately