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How to Properly Treat a Burn


Burn injuries can range from superficial to life-threatening. However, even minor burns can become dangerous if they get infected. Properly treating a burn injury is necessary to prevent complications and to promote healing. Read on to understand what you should—and should not—do after getting burned.

Assess the Burn

Some burns will require an immediate trip to the hospital. For example, go to the hospital in the following situations:

  • The burn is larger than 3 inches in diameter
  • The burn covers a sensitive part of the body, such as your face, hands, feet, buttocks, groin, or major joint
  • The burn looks charred or has brown, black, or white patches
  • The burn has penetrated through all layers of skin
  • You suffered the burn through electrocution

Burned limbs expand in size, so remove anything that might constrict the victim, such as rings, belts, or even clothes. If clothing has burned onto the skin, cut around the affected area. Avoid peeling off the burned clothing, which will only pull up the skin.

At the hospital, the doctor will assess the burn and decide how to treat it. For example, you might need surgery to remove dead skin and graft new skin to the affected area.

If the burn is less serious, you can treat it at home by following the steps below.

Cool a Burn with Water

Apply cool water to the burn until it stops hurting. You can hold the affected body part under the tap or, if the burn is harder to reach, apply cold compresses or get into a cold bath. Remember not to pop any blisters if they appear.

Avoid Folk Remedies

Have you heard that you should put cool butter on a burn? This folk remedy can actually make burns worse. The grease from melting butter will lock in the heat, slowing down the ability of the burn to cool and causing more tissue damage.

Instead, pat the burn dry after it has cooled and apply a sterile bandage. If you want, you can apply aloe vera lotion to the burn to prevent it from drying.

Look for Signs of Infection

Infections kill about 10,000 burn victims every year, so you want to keep your eyes peeled for any signs that your burn has become infected. Check for the following:

  • Fever
  • Green discharge or pus
  • An increase in the depth of the burn
  • Swelling
  • Changes in color to the burn or surrounding skin

Go immediately to the doctor, who can prescribe a regimen of antibiotics to ward off any infection.

Speak with a Delray Beach Burn Injury Lawyer

Burn injuries claim thousands of lives each year, and tens of thousands are injured. If you or someone you care about has suffered a burn injury, you should seek appropriate medical care.

You also might be able to sue the person responsible. At Earnhart Law in Delray Beach, we have helped multiple burn victims obtain the compensation they need to rebuild their lives. To check whether you have a valid legal claim, schedule your free, no-strings consultation today.



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