How to Treat and Prevent Minor Burns

General Health

How to Treat and Prevent Minor Burns

Always make sure that you have a first aid kit with the necessary tools and medicines to treat burns.


Cooking, camping, and grilling—these are just some of the instances where getting minor burns can be quite common for some people. Whether you’re frying your favorite dish, setting up that bonfire, or just grilling your steaks, getting burned is an unpleasant experience which requires basic first aid treatment to avoid further damage and infection.

Layers of the skin

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) your skin is a complex organ that’s both tough and stretchy. It’s made up of three layers, namely:

Epidermis – the outermost layer of the skin; in charge of making new skin cells, melanin production, and overall protection of your body.

Dermis – this second layer of the skin is responsible for a number of skin functions like sweat production, blood circulation, hair growth, oil production, and sending signals of sensation from your skin to your brain.

Subcutaneous fat/subcutis – the last and bottom layer; attaches the dermis to the muscles and bones, controls your body temperature, and stores fat to give you an extra layer of protection.

Kinds of burns

First-degree burn

  • Also referred to as a superficial burn. The epidermis is damaged and your skin feels hot and painful to the touch. Spending long hours under the sun puts you at risk of developing sunburn—which is considered to be a first-degree burn.

Second-degree burn

  • Suffering from superficial dermal/deep dermal burns occur when your dermis is partially/entirely damaged. Common symptoms include swelling, the formation of blisters, and redness of the affected area. The American Burn Association (ABA) recommends that you seek immediate medical attention should the burn be larger than three inches and/or involves functional parts of the body such as major joints, face, and feet.

Third-degree burn

  • Full thickness burns are considered as emergency cases wherein all the skin layers are severely damaged to the point of permanent damage. The skin may appear to be charred and leathery to the touch. Seek immediate medical attention at your nearest hospital regardless of the location and size of the burn.

How to treat minor burns

Take note of these steps on treating minor burns below:

  • Wash the affected area under cool, running water. Do not use ice because this could cause further skin damage.
  • Cover blisters with a sterile gauze, applying as little as pressure as possible on the burn. Do not pop the blisters to avoid infection.
  • Remove any accessories and pieces of clothing around the affected area.
  • To prevent dehydration, load up on water and fluids enhanced with electrolytes.
  • Consult your doctor on taking pain medications.
  • Apply topical creams approved for minor burns to relieve pain and soothe itchiness.
  • Avoid sun exposure.

Preventive measures

You can avoid getting burns at home by exercising extreme caution when handling fire/extreme heat. Keep children out of the kitchen most especially when you’re cooking and never allow them to handle hot pans/plates. Use covers for your pans to reduce oil splatter and always have oven gloves within arm’s reach. Camping out and building bonfires can be fun but there are still several safety hazards to look out for. Always make sure that you have a first aid kit with the necessary tools and medicines to treat burns. Stay alert, keep calm, and act fast when faced with emergency situations.

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