Caring for Burns – What You Can Do
You can get burns from a number of different sources. The most common include:
- hot liquids
- hot objects
- the sun,
For diagnostic and handling purposes, burns are generally categorized into the following three classifications:
A first-degree burn is the least serious type of burn that you can suffer and involves only the outermost layer of your skin, called your epidermis.
Your skin will likely be reddened and painful. It can also be swollen.
In general, if a first-degree burn does not cover a significant portion of your body, it can be taken care of at home.
A second-degree burn is one in which the second layer of your skin (called your hypodermis) is also burned. In this type of burn, your skin will be extremely red with a spotted or blotchy appearance, and you will probably have blisters in the area of the burn.
A second-degree burn typically causes severe pain and swelling.
If you suffer a small and localized second-degree burn – no more than a few inches in diameter – you might be able to take care of it effectively at home. If the burned region is larger than this, or has occurred on your face, hands, feet, groin, buttocks, or a major joint, it is best to go to your doctor or local hospital for professional care.
A third-degree burn involves all layers of your skin, and possibly structures that are below your skin as well. Some areas of a third-degree burn are often charred black. You may experience severe pain, but if a nerve has been damaged by the burn, it is possible that you will feel little to no pain. All third-degree burns require immediate emergency medical care.
- How to Take Care of a Minor Burn at Home
- The first step that you should take to care for a minor burn is to hold it under cold, running water for 10 to 15 minutes. If cold, running water is not available, immerse the burn in cold water or cover it with cold compresses. Be sure not to put ice directly against the burn; direct contact with ice can cause frostbite and more damage.
- Do not apply butter to the burn. Butter will trap heat in the damaged tissues, which can potentially cause more damage and increase your chance of developing an infection.
- Once the burn has cooled via cold water or compress exposure, apply lotion to the area. Lotion may soothe any discomfort that you feel, and will also prevent dryness.
- Once the burn is moisturized, cover it with a sterile gauze bandage. Just be sure to wrap the burn loosely to avoid putting too much pressure on the wound.
- Sometimes, in order to prevent infection, your body will produce fluid-filled blisters. Do not break these blisters – they will resolve on their own. If they break on their own, you can wash the area with water and plain soap, dry it, then apply an antibiotic ointment and a loosely wrapped sterile gauze bandage.
How to Take Care of Major Burns
- For all major burns, seek medical care as soon as possible.
- Be sure that the cause of the burn has been eliminated, but do not remove burned clothing that has adhered to your skin.
- Until you receive emergency medical care, cover the burned region with a dry, sterile bandage or a clean cloth. Use a cotton bed sheet for large areas. Do not use blankets or towels, as both have a tendency to stick to burns.
- Do not apply ointments or try to break blisters.
Aloe Vera – A Potent Plant for Burns
As generations of mothers already know, Aloe Vera really is a wonderful plant when it comes to taking care of burns from fires.
But many people don’t realize that using Aloe Vera is also a great way to handle nearly any type of burn, including sunburns, burns from hot surfaces and liquids, steam burns and even to some extent radiation burns.
It is widely known that the amazing properties of Aloe Vera can soothe a wide variety of burns.
The incredible properties of Aloe Vera for burns are undeniable. Studies have shown that Aloe Vera helps new skin cells form and hastens recovery. “Aloe vera is best known for its soothing and healing effects on
burns and other wounds. Studies show that Aloe vera, when applied to a wound, increases both the rate of wound closure and the tensile strength of the wound via the proliferation of cells, including skin, liver, nerve and blood cells.” [From this article by the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research].
The Aloe Vera plant has the amazing ability to provide essential nutrients needed to promote healthy tissue growth by the reducing inflammation and killing bacteria and other foreign organisms that thrive on damaged skin cells caused by burns.
Aloe Vera’s cooling effect offers instant relief from burns and will typically prevent, or greatly reduce, blistering when applied immediately after receiving a burn.
Growing your own Aloe Vera plant at home on a windowsill is one way to make sure you are prepared for any burns you may receive at home. However, we recommend the use of Aloe Vera gel, which comes in a convenient tube. Not only do they offer ease-of-use convenience, they are also very easily transported (to the beach, for example) and they allow you to slip the responsibility of growing the plant for yourself.
For most families, a tube of Aloe Vera gel will last for months to come. It is very important to note though that many Aloe Vera gels on the market contain only a small percentage of Aloe Vera in them. You should always look for 100% stabilized Aloe Vera gels. Only these will give you the full power of Aloe Vera.
People who suffer from skin ailments and seek cost-effective, natural alternatives, may want to try the time-tested results of the Aloe Vera plant’s gel. It is unlikely to cause any unwanted side effects.
“Last year I had a friend call me, frantic and her young daughter burning her stomach as she pulled HOT liquid out of the microwave. She was terrified. She asked me if the Corium would soothe the burn. Of course I told her to get some medical attention but that the Corium would certainly soothe it. She called me back 3 weeks later and told me that her daughters stomach had scabbed over within 3 days of the burn and now looks like it did prior to the burn. No scar left or anything. I don’t know if she’s a customer now but I know it has made me even more proud to be a customer.” – L.S.