Since you’re bound to either burn yourself or to be with someone when they burn themselves, it’s a good idea to learn about first aid for burns. While everyone has an opinion on what you should do, you can actually take care of a burn in three easy steps. Here’s what you need to do for first aid for burns.
Cool the Area
When the skin is burned, it becomes hot and flushed. This is due to the cells in the skin being ‘cooked’ and thus dehydrated and irritated. To help cool the area, the first step in first aid for burns is to rinse the area with tepid water. You don’t want to use cold water as this can shock the skin too much and cause further damage. Run cool water over the area for a few minutes until the pain begins to subside. What you’re doing with the cool water is drawing the heat away from the area and helping to protect the skin from further damage. You do not want to put ice onto a wound, however.
It is also a good idea to clean the area at this time if you can stand it. In first aid for burns, this will help to reduce the possibility of infection and that’s important when it comes to larger burns or those with blisters.
Cover the Burn
Take a gauze pad and place this over the burn for the second step in first aid for burns. This will help protect the burn from infection while also allowing the burn to release excess heat. This can also help the burn feel less painful as it is not subject to outside temperature changes. It’s important not to press on the burn too hard or to wrap it too tightly as this can cause the burn to become painful again.
Consider a Painkiller
When the burn is painful, a painkiller like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can help alleviate the discomfort. Follow the instructions on the bottle and ask your doctor about any potential interactions if you are on prescription medications as well. Though most people don’t need a painkiller, it can help in the case of larger burns like sunburns.
First aid for burns shouldn’t be complicated, but it does need to be applied immediately. With each second that the burn is not treated, the burn can be spreading through the skin layers. Starting the cool water as quickly as possible will reduce pain and it will reduce damage, thus lessening the healing time needed.