Where possible, immediately cool the burn by placing under lukewarm running water for at least 20 minutes. This may limit the damage to the tissue and relieve pain.
After cooling the burn, use a clean towel, sheet or cloth to gently pat dry. Do not burst any blisters as this exposes the fragile skin underneath to infection. Small partial-thickness burns should be covered with a dressing that does not stick to the wound. Larger partial-thickness and all full-thickness burns should be covered loosely with a clean towel, sheet or cloth and immediate medical advice sought.
Do not apply any creams, oils, emollients to the wound.
The dressing you use will depend on the depth and extent of the burn.
- A superficial burn causes red and swollen skin, and will generally heal within a week
- A partial-thickness burn causes red, swollen skin with blisters and/or superficial wounds, they usually heel within 2 weeks
- A full-thickness burn is very deep and contains dead skin and tissue and should always be treated a doctor
Some dressings can take off the ‘top’ of the wound (also called the ‘wound bed’) and also the skin around the wound, which again can be painful. You will need to use a dressing that protects the wound and the surrounding skin. Your doctor or nurse will know which of the dressings are best to use for your wound.
It is important to keep the wound clean to avoid infection and minimise pain.
Watch the wound for signs of infection which include:
- An increase or a change in pain
- Odour from the wound
- Increased redness
- An increase in the amount and colour of exudate (fluid) from the wound
- A high temperature
A number of suitable dressings can be found if you click on the ‘our solutions’ tab.