You can care for minor burns at home with simple first aid.
First-degree burns are only on the top layer of the skin.
Second-degree burns go one layer deeper than first-degree burns.
Treat a burn like a major burn (call your doctor) if it is:
First, calm and reassure the person who is burned.
If clothing is not stuck to the burn, remove it. If the burn is caused by chemicals, take off all clothes that have the chemical on them.
Cool the burn.
After the burn is cooled, make sure it is a minor burn. If it is deeper, or larger, or on a hand, foot, face, groin, buttocks, hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist, seek medical care.
If it is a minor burn:
Minor burns could take up to 3 weeks to heal.
A burn can itch as it heals. Do not scratch it.
The deeper the burn, the more likely it is to scar. If the burn appears to be developing a scar, call your doctor for advice.
Burns are susceptible to tetanus. If your last tetanus shot was more than 5 years ago, call your doctor. You may need a booster shot.
Call your doctor if you have signs of infection:
Partial thickness burns
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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