Second Degree Burn

Treating second degree burns

Most of the time, a second degree burn can be treated with a home remedy, to prevent infection and to speed up healing.

It is important that you take action immediately after being burnt, even if you are going to seek medical attention. The heat from a burn can continue to cook the skin, even after the incident, this is why it is vital to act fast.

NB: Any burns that are greater than 4 inches in diameter, should be treated by a doctor too.

Care for second degree burns

1.    Rinse the burn: Rinse the burn with cool water to lower the temperature of the skin and stop most of the pain. Keep the burn under cool water for at least 10 minutes. If you cannot place the burnt area under running water, you can use a cool compress. NB: Do not use ice water; this can cause extra tissue damage.

2.    Remove any jewellery or clothing on the burnt area: The area may swell, making it difficult to remove these later.

3.    Clean the burn: Make sure your hands are extra clean before touching the burn, to prevent infection. Do not break any of the blisters. Wash the burnt area with a mild soap and water. Pat dry with a clean cloth.

4.    Antibiotic: Buy an antibiotic ointment. Apply liberally to the burnt skin. Aloe Vera cream can also be applied. Other topical treatments mentioned below.

5.    Bandage: Apply a bandage if the skin is open, if your clothing will irritate the burn or if the burn is likely to get dirty. Make sure that the bandage is wrapped loosely, so that there is not too much pressure on the burn. Do not tape the bandage closed, it needs air to breathe.

6.    Keep it elevated: If the burn is on a limb, it is always best to keep it elevated to decrease swelling.

7.    Pain reliever: Take an over the counter pain reliever.

8.    Dressing: Change the dressing daily and watch out for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pus or fever.

Things to avoid during 2nd degree burn treatment

•    Do not pop any blisters, this can cause infection
•    Do not peel off any crusted or burnt skin, this can lead to scarring
•    Do not peel away any clothing stuck to the skin.
•    Do not use butter, olive oil, egg whites or antiseptic creams on burns.
•    Do not use cotton wool to cover the wound, instead use a sterile gauze.

How do you know when it’s a second-degree burn?

The degree of burns, have nothing to do with temperature and all to do with the severity and depth of the burn.

First degree burns do not cause blisters or broken skin. A first degree burn only causes some swelling, discoloration and pain.

A 2nd degree burn extends into the epidermis and can involve some blistering. Second degree burns can take up to three weeks to heal, while a first degree burn only takes a few days.

A third degree burn is the most serious and can damage nerves; the skin usually appears white and scorched. Healing with a third degree burn also takes much longer. Vitamin E oil can be applied later when the wound has healed to help heal scars.

Topical treatment for 2nd degree burns

•    Treat second degree burns with Aloe Vera gel: Aloe Vera is often used as treatment for second degree burns. Use the fresh aloe form the leaves, or get some Aloe Vera gel over the counter.

•    Calendula tincture for second degree burn care: Buy these at health food stores.

•    Raw honey: Honey has been used for many years as a burn remedy due to its soothing, antiseptic and healing properties.

Other pages on remedies-for-skin in connection with this page

* First degree burns

* Third degree burns

* Aloe Vera gel

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