How to tell if a burn can be treated at home or if it’s more serious
A first degree burn, while still painful, can normally be treated as a minor burn. First degree burns directly damage only the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, and whilst there may be pain, redness or swelling, it’s not very serious and can be treated at home. It generally has a low risk of infection and scarring. Most sunburns are also first degree burns and can be treated much the same way as other minor burns.
Second degree burns may include the above symptoms, as well as pink or splotchy skin and blisters. If the burn is less than 7 cm or 3 inches around, you can treat it as a minor burn.
These are signs you should seek immediate medical help for a burn:
- Any chemical and electrical burns
- The skin in or around the burn is white or charred
- Blistered burns on the hands, arms, feet, legs, face or genitals
- If someone has inhaled lots of smoke and is showing symptoms such as facial burns, singed nasal hair, coughing or difficulty breathing
- Small children and pregnant women
- Any burn bigger than the size of your hand
Did you know the most effective way to cool down a minor burn is with running the burn under cold water rather than ice?