First aid for minor burns

Minor burns can be taken care at home with simple first aid. There are different levels of burns. First-degree burns only involve the top layer of the skin. i.e, epidermis

Symptoms that we see in minor burns are
Redness and

Second-degree burns involve deeper layer i.e, Dermis

Symptoms are:

  • Blisters
  • Pain
  • Swelling and pain.

Treatment of Minor Burns

If a minor burn occurs, steps that have to be taken for immediate treatment of the burn are

  1. Run cool water, not ice water, over the areas where the skin is unbroken.
  2. Soak the burned skin in this cool water. Keep the burn area under water for at least five to ten minutes.
  3. Do not apply water if the burn occurred in a cold environment. Instead, use a clean, cold and wet towel to reduce the pain.
  4. Remove rings or other tight items from the burned area. Try to do this quickly and gently, before the area gets swollen.
    5. Apply lotion. Once a burn is completely cooled, apply a lotion, such as one that contains aloe vera or a moisturizer. This helps prevent drying and provides relief.
    6. Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or clean cloth and protect it from pressure and friction.
    7. Over-the-counter pain medications may help reduce inflammation and swelling as well as help with the pain.

Minor burns usually heal without further treatment.


  1. Do not apply butter, ice, medications, fluffy cotton, adhesive bandages, cream or oil spray. These can interfere with the healing process.
    2. Do not allow the burn to become contaminated. Avoid coughing or breathing on the burn.
    3. Do not touch or peel blistered and dead skin.
    4. Do not give the victim anything to ingest until you consulted a doctor if he/she has a severe burn.
    5. Do not immerse a severe burn in cold water or apply cold compresses. This can cause shock.
    6. Do not place a pillow under a victim’s head if he/she has an airway burn because the airway could close, blocking the flow of air into the lungs.

When to see a doctor:
if there is blackened skin or blistering in the following areas:

the face
the genitals
all the way around a wrist, arm, leg or ankle covering most of a foot or hand
anywhere on the body covering an area bigger than the size of the chest

Simple precautions to avoid burns

1. Invest in and maintain at least two fire extinguishers in your home.

  1. Ensure that you know how to use a fire extinguisher before you are faced with an emergency situation.
    3. Invest in basic smoke detectors for different parts of your house, i.e. kitchen and sleeping area, or ground floor and top floor if you have a double storey house.
  2. Smoke detectors are readily available from most hardware stores.
    5. Never use petrol or other flammable liquids or gels to start a fire.
    6. Take extra care around fires, flame, gas, hot liquids, and cooking equipment. Do not leave children unsupervised around these potentially dangerous heat sources.
    7. Do not sleep with electric blankets or heaters switched on.
    8. Test the bath water for babies and children. It should be comfortably warm.
    Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
    9. Never overload electrical plug points, as this can increase the fire risk.
    10. Never smoke in bed, near gas cylinders or other flammable substances. Always dispose of cigarette butts responsibly.


Dr  Krishna Priya



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