First Aid for Burns: First, Second and Third Degree Burns
There are three different
classifications of burns, the least severe being a first degree burn and the
most sever being a third degree burn. Each type of burn requires a different
first aid instructions. This guide will help you determine the severity
of the burn and the best course of action.
Items You’ll Need for Burns:
- Cool running water (make sure to always have sanitary water available)
- Sterile gauze bandage
- Over-the-counter pain reliever
- Sterile, moist towel or cloth
Another option is to buy a first aid kit that come stocked with gauze and a ice pack!
First Degree Burns
First degree burns are the least serious type of burn and require little
medical attention, if any. First degree burns damage only the outer layer of
skin and usually appear red. Swelling and pain may be present. Minor burns can
be soothed with Sanitary cool running
water (avoid using cold water or ice). Do so for
10 to 15 minutes, or until the pain subsides. This will also help reduce
Cover the burn loosely with a sterile gauze bandage. Avoid cotton or any other
type of material that may leave lint behind. This will help ease the pain and
protect the blistered skin.
Lastly, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin,
ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Watch the burn for infection and avoid tanning or
reinjuring the area for the next year, otherwise you may have sever
Second Degree Burns
Second degree burns occur when the outer layer and second layer of skin are
burned. With a second degree burn, blisters may develop and the skin will be
intensely red with a splotchy appearance. Second degree burns will also produce
severe swelling and pain.
As long as the burn covers an area less than 3 inches and is not in a sensitive
area, such as the face, groin, hands or feet, you can treat it as a minor burn.
Otherwise, seek medical help immediately.
Third Degree Burns
Third degree burns occur when all layers of the skin have been burned and may
cause permanent tissue damage. Third degree burns will appear dry and white or
charred and black. To make matters worse, third degree burn victims are also
often affected by smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide poisoning. That is why it is always helpful to also have
face masks stocked up in case a fire does happen in your home.
If you find someone who has suffered third degree burns, do not remove any of
their burned clothing, unless this
is necessary to remove the person from
contact with smoldering materials. Avoid immersing
burns in cold water, as this
can cause hypothermia. Elevate the burned parts of the body and cover the area
of the burn with a cool,
moist, sterile bandage. You can use moist towels or a
moist cloth as well. Seek immediate medical attention and consider getting a
Do not apply butter or ointments to the burn, as these may actually cause
infection rather than preventing it. Blisters should also not be broken, since
the area becomes more susceptible to infection if there is an open wound. And
again, always avoid using ice, as this causes the burn victim to become too
cold and can further damage the area.