Topics in this Post
It's easy to experience a burn on your arm or hand from a hot pan while cooking. But there are many myths about how to treat a minor burn. Should you pop the blister? Do you use hot or cold water on it? Is it good to cover a burn with bandages?
One of the most important things to do is to act fast.
Follow these tips for minor burn treatment:
- Place the burn under cool running water, slightly colder than room temperature, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pain eases. Or put a cool, clean, damp on the burn.
- Be aware swelling may occur. Remove tight items, such as rings or clothing, from the burned area.
- Do not break the blister if it bigger than your little fingernail. If the blister does break, clean it with mild soap and water. Apply antibiotic ointment, and then cover it with a bandage or gauze.
- Applying moisturizer, aloe vera gel or other pain relief gels may provide temporary relief. Don't slather on butter, as butter retains heat and it could be contaminated with bacteria.
- An over-the-counter pain reliever also may be beneficial. Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium or acetaminophen can help ease the pain.
- It's also important to ensure that you have had a tetanus shot within the last 10 years, as you can get tetanus through an open wound in the skin.
When to see your health care team after a burn
See your health care team if the symptoms begin to get worse and a larger blister develops. Large blisters are best removed, as they rarely will remain intact on their own. Also seek care if the burn covers a large area of the body or infection-like signs begin to show, such as oozing from the wound, increased pain, redness and swelling.
Call 911 for emergency medical help for major burns.
Get more safety tips:
- Burn safety: Protect your child from burns
- Use caution with fireworks
- Should super glue be in your first-aid kit?
- Household safety checklist for senior citizens
By Mayo Clinic Health System staff