Whether you have children or just won’t be near anyone with medical training, knowing how to treat a minor burn can be very helpful to your overall health. If you’ve been alive long enough, you almost certainly have experienced a minor burn at least a couple of times from a variety of different sources. Most of the time, you don’t need to do anything special for your minor burn to go away, just deal with the small amount of pain and let it heal on its own. However, if a burn is just bad enough that it requires attention but not a trip to the doctor, treating a minor burn at home can be a great thing to understand.
Common Causes of Burns
Most of the time, a minor burn will be caused by carelessness or an accident. Perhaps you spilled a little hot coffee on your and or accidentally bumped the grate on your hot grill. Sometimes you can burn yourself a little more severely by bumping into some burning sparklers or having a glowing ember from your fire pit land on your forearm. Regardless of the specifics, minor burns are always caused by touching or being touched by something that is very hot or on fire.
Treating a Burn
The most common treatment for a minor burn is to run it under cold water or put ice over the top of it. This is tremendously effective because it gives you immediate relief for the pain and cools the burn down to prevent it from affecting a larger area, but make sure to buffer the ice from direct contact with your skin by using a plastic bag or paper towel. However, to hasten the healing process of your minor burn, it is best to use an ointment such as petroleum jelly or Aloe Vera gel on the burn. Once you’ve treated the burn, you should cover it with non-stick gauze to keep it clean and dry while it heals.
When to Go to the Doctor
Occasionally, you may find yourself in a situation where your burn is so severe that it may need the attention of a trained professional. Knowing when you’re in over your head with a burn is very important because leaving a bad burn untreated can cause a severe infection such as tetanus and excruciating pain. If you notice any of the following reactions with your burn, you should contact your doctor’s office immediately:
Increased pain after the first day
Oozing or pus-like discharges
You develop a fever
Have swollen lymph nodes
Develop a red streak from the burn
If you have any doubts about your health or the severity of your minor burn, don’t hesitate to call the doctor. It is better to go in for something that was treatable at home than face the consequences of inaction. Once you’ve treated a few minor burns on your own, you’ll know what to expect and when it’s severe; but until then it is best to stay on the side of caution.