Minor Burns

Tissue damage from minor burns can result from many causes. Causes may include the sun, radiation, chemical, electrical, or heat. Burns are categorized according to the depth of the burn.

First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of skin (epidermis), causing redness and pain.

Second-degree burns affect the outer layer and the second layer of skin (dermis). These burns may blister and swell. They are painful and may leave scars.

Third-degree burns damage all layers of the skin and may reach fat or even bone beneath the skin layers. These are serious burns that require additional care to prevent infection and promote healing.

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Treatment of burns will prevent infection, promote healing, and control pain. Minor burns should heal within a few weeks.

While you are waiting to be evaluated by a healthcare provider, you can do the following things at home to take care of a burn:

  • Cool the burn with cool running water or a cool compress.
  • Remove any rings if the burn is on the hand.
  • Don’t break any blisters that appear.
  • Apply an aloe-type lotion to minor burns.
  • Loosely bandage burns with a non-stick dressing.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or ibuprofen.