Burn Care

A burn is an injury to the skin from heat, electricity (e-lek-trih-sih-t), chemicals, or staying out in the sun too long. Infants and young children have the highest risk of a burn injury. Most burns usually heal in 1 to 3 weeks.

Types of burns:

There are three kinds of burns:

  • First-degree burns include only the outer layer of skin. The skin may be red. It may also hurt when touched. A first-degree burn is a mild burn and usually heals in a few days.
  • Second-degree burns are deeper and more severe. The skin may be red, swollen, and blistered. There is much pain when the skin is touched. This burn takes about 2 weeks to heal.
  • Third-degree burns are the deepest and worst. The skin is tough or leathery. It may look white, brown, black, or red. There may be no feeling when the burned skin is touched.

Signs and Symptoms:

You may feel pain and swelling over the area that got burned. Also, you may see redness and blisters. You may have a headache, fever, and feel dizzy.


Treatment depends upon the type of burn.

  • Usually a first-degree or a mild second-degree burn can be treated at home. For a mild burn, put the skin in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Gently wash the burn with warm soapy water. Pat it dry with a clean towel. Loosely wrap a clean dry bandage over the burn. To lessen swelling, raise the burn area above heart level as often as you can. Drink 6 to 8 glasses (soda-pop can size) of liquids each day.
  • More severe second-degree and third degree burns must be treated by a caregiver. For a bad burn, you may need to be put in the hospital for care.
  • You may need pain medicine, need antibiotic (an-ti-bi-ah-tik) medicine to fight an infection or be given a tetanus shot.
  • If your burn is from electricity or steam, get immediate care from by a caregiver.
  • If your burn is from a chemical, remove chemical from your skin or eyes with large amounts of cool running water (for at least ½ an hour). Be sure to remove any clothing carefully so not to get more chemical on you.