What to do in case of burns with boiling water, hot oil, steam, iron and other hot objects in children and adults


June 19, 2014, 7:30 p.m. | Medicine

The data we found allow us to draw conclusions about what to do and what not to do with burns.

What to do in case of burns with boiling water, hot oil, steam, iron and other hot objects in children and adults

To formulate the recommendations presented below, we searched for information in medical databases and journals for doctors, in which the results of scientific studies conducted by specialists in the field of burn treatment are published.

The data we found allow us to draw the following conclusions about what should be done and what should not be done with burns in order to heal them as soon as possible:

If more than 3 hours have not passed since the burn, hold the burn area for 20 minutes under running water

This is the most important first aid step to take at home if any part of the body is burned by a hot liquid (such as boiling water, oil, milk) or any hot object (such as an iron, frying pan or open flame).

The sooner cooling is started after a burn, the better.

Based on their own ideas about what to do with burns, many people either hold the burned area under water for only a short time (usually no more than 10-15 seconds), or instead simply blow on the burned skin or apply it to the lips, lightly wetting with saliva. However, with these measures, they only achieve cooling of the surface of the burn and have almost no effect on the development of the burn in the future.

Despite the fact that recommendations to hold a burned area of ​​skin under a stream of water for 20 minutes seem counterintuitive and useless, especially if several minutes or hours have passed since the burn and the surface of the burn no longer seems hot, scientific studies have found that this step can radically change the development of burns for the better.

In particular, it was established that cooling the burn area with running water for 20 minutes not only removes heat from it, which can remain in the depths of tissues for some time, continuing to destroy them, but also has a number of other important effects. It stabilizes the walls of blood vessels and reduces the intensity of the initial inflammatory reaction, which, as a result, reduces the swelling and destruction of the burned skin in the following days, as well as accelerates the healing of the wound and reduces the likelihood of the formation of a rough scar at the site of the burn.

< em>So, if you have just been burned or if it has not been more than 3 hours since the burn, proceed as follows:

  1. Adjust the temperature of the water in the tap with running water to room temperature or slightly colder (but not lower than 5 C and not higher than 35 C) and place the burned area of ​​the skin under the stream of water for 20 minutes. As a result of some scientific studies, it was established that water with a temperature of 15 C is considered optimal for cooling the burn area.
  2. If you do not have the opportunity to place the burned part of the body under a stream of running water, fill a vessel of the appropriate size with cool water and completely dip the affected area in it. As a last resort, wet a piece of material or clothing with cold water and apply it to the burn area (in this case, you need to re-wet the compress with cold water periodically).
  3. If the injured person says that he is cold, cover him. After cooling the burn area for 20 minutes as described above, you no longer need to apply wet compresses to the affected skin, but cover it with a bandage as shown below.
  4. After cooling, if possible, raise the affected area of ​​the body (such as a leg or arm) above the level of the heart and maintain this position for as long as possible for the next 2 days. For example, at night you can put your hand on several pillows. This will help reduce swelling in the burn area, which is very important for the fastest healing of the wound.

Additional recommendations:

  • If the burn was received through clothing and items still partially or fully covering the affected area, carefully remove them. Try to immediately assess whether the material of the clothing contains a heated substance that could burn other areas of the body when you take it off. If you see things stuck to the burn area, leave them as they are, do not try to separate them and consult a doctor.
  • If we are talking about a burn on the back, abdomen, chest, neck, face or head of a child, in no case do not put the child completely under a stream of cold water and try, if possible, to cool only the areas of the skin affected by the burn. Other parts of the body should be kept warm (for example, under a blanket). Children can lose heat very quickly and enter a state of hypothermia, which can be extremely dangerous for them.
  • In no case do not apply ice to the burn area. Under the action of ice, the blood vessels in the skin are strongly narrowed, which leads to a strong decrease in blood flow and increases the destruction of tissues in the area of ​​the burn.
  • If you have burned your finger or hand and there is some jewelry in the area of ​​the burn, for example, a ring or a bracelet, – remove them. Some time after the burn, severe swelling may develop in the affected area, due to which the jewelry may become stuck and may need to be cut to remove it.

Be sure to consult a doctor if necessary

In most cases, people correctly assess the danger of burns and consult a doctor when necessary. However, if you do not know whether a burn like yours can be treated at home or if you still need to see a doctor, pay attention to the following recommendations:

Be sure to contact doctor if:

  • The area of ​​the burn (regardless of how the burn looks and where it is located) occupies an area larger than the palm of the injured person;
  • If the burn, regardless of its size and location, looks like a 3rd degree burn: the skin is destroyed completely and looks like a charred, black or whitish wound. Burns of the 3rd degree can hardly hurt, however, despite this, they can be very dangerous.
  • If you burn the face, genitals, perineum, or joints (for example, the knee, elbow, hand, or fingers) and you have a 2nd degree burn: in the affected area, the skin begins to fall back (peel) in the form of blisters filled with a clear liquid.< /li>
  • If you received a large burn that completely covers the abdomen or chest in a circle.
  • If the burn occurred after an electric shock (the real tissue damage in this case can be much more than what is visible on the skin burns).
  • If you have a more or less deep wound at the site of the burn and you have not received a tetanus vaccination in the last 10 years.

Also contact to the doctor if:

  • The injured man feels bad (he has severe weakness, he breathes quickly, he begins to lose consciousness). with reduced immunity.

While waiting for an ambulance or before you see a doctor, try to cover the burn area with a bandage, as shown in the next point.

< strong id="i-3">After cooling, cover the burn area with a clean bandage

If you have decided that you will treat a burn at home, or are waiting for the opportunity to see a doctor, the next important first aid step, after cooling the burn with running water, is to prevent the surface from drying out.

This is necessary to support the normal process of wound regeneration. , which occurs at a certain level of humidity.

In order to protect the burn from drying out, you need to cover it with a bandage, as shown below:

  1. If you don't have a special non-stick bandage, cover the burn with a clean piece of cling film or polyethylene.
  2. Try to cover the burn area with the film only, and not wrap the film around the entire body (for example, an arm, leg or finger), because otherwise you can compress the burn area too much and disrupt blood circulation in it. It is best to attach the film with several pieces of adhesive plaster or tape to healthy areas of skin at the edges of the burn, or secure the film with a light, gauze bandage.

After that, you can go to the pharmacy for a special dressing or go to the doctor if you think it is necessary.

Special dressings for burns

Currently, you can find special burn bandages in pharmacies. The results of some studies indicate that the use of special dressings (in particular, dressings containing silver, silicone-coated nylon dressings, biosynthetic dressings or hydrogel-based dressings ) really accelerates the healing of burns and reduces the likelihood of scarring.

If you cannot find a special bandage at the pharmacy, you can buy gauze soaked in paraffin or any other non-sticky bandage for the bandage. #39;bandage.

If you previously covered the burn area with a film or an ordinary bandage, carefully remove them and wash the burn area with soap and water and apply a new bandage that you bought at the pharmacy . The bandage should be quite loose.

The bandage should be changed the next day, and then it should be changed once every two days to inspect the burn. It is not necessary to change bandages more often.

Do not apply anything to the burn

Do not apply to the burn under any circumstances cream, vegetable, coconut, sea buckthorn, castor or butter (or other oils), sour cream, chalk, beaten eggs and other substances that you may have heard that help to “relief a burn quickly”.

Why can't you smear a burn with oil?

As a result of observations of a large number of people who used various oils immediately or for some time after a burn, it was found that, contrary to popular belief, applying an oil or other substances available at home to the burn area slows down the healing of the wound and increases the likelihood of scarring .

In the process of searching for information in medical databases, we were unable to find scientific materials that would indicate the effectiveness of using sprays or ointments based on Dexpanthenol (Panthenol) for burns, so we cannot recommend their use.

Can antibiotic ointments and creams be used?

Despite the fact that in the past, the use of antibiotic ointments and creams and other antimicrobial agents was standard practice for burns that accumulated to today Today, scientific evidence indicates that such treatment can actually slow down the regeneration process of burns.

In this regard, currently, experts in the field of burn treatment do not recommend using ointments or creams with antibiotics at home.

Do not puncture blisters


If the skin begins to peel off at the burn site and blisters appear (this is a 2nd degree burn), do not pierce or tear them under any circumstances.

Blisters (in in medicine they are called phlikten) well protect the burn area from infection by microbes and drying out.

The blisters will open on their own after a few days.

If necessary, take a pain reliever

If the burn causes severe pain, you can take (or give the injured person) Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.

On the second day, wash the burn area with soap and water and change the bandage. Re-examine the burn

On the second day after the burn, carefully remove the bandage and wash the burned skin with warm water and soap, then pat it dry with a soft, clean towel or a piece of clean gauze.

After that, examine the burn area again:

  • If it looks like a red spot, but at the same time the skin looks intact, without dark spots, blisters and deep wounds, this is the first burn (1) degree.
  • If the skin begins to peel off in the area of ​​the burn and blisters appear – this is a second (2) degree burn.
  • If the area of ​​the burn has black, dark brown spots or deep wounds are third (3) degree burns.

After examining the burn area, review the recommendations we gave above under Be sure to see a doctor if needed. If the condition of the burn has changed for the worse since yesterday, for example, blisters have appeared, the wound has become deeper or if the area of ​​the burn has expanded – be sure to consult a doctor.

If you, as you once decided, , that you will treat a burn at home – cover it again with a clean bandage.

In the following days, until the burn is completely healed, periodically change the bandage sticky, but do not smear the burn with anything

Continue to change the bandage daily or every other day, each time washing the burn area with soap and water or a mild disinfectant (for example, furacilin solution), which you can buy at a pharmacy. This will be enough for the quick healing of the wound.

Do not cauterize the burn with alcohol, iodine or other concentrated disinfectants.

If during the next examination of the burn you notice the appearance of signs of infection – it is necessary see a doctor!

The following signs may indicate the development of an infection in the area of ​​the burn:

  • The wound formed after the burn has started to fester.
  • The liquid that fills the blisters has become cloudy, yellowish-brown in color.
  • The wound became more painful than in previous days, its edges became inflamed and swollen; the wound area became hot.
  • You have a fever.

If the burn does not heal within 2 weeks, you must be sure to consult a doctor

The healing time of burns depends on the depth of the burn and the area of ​​the affected area.

Healing of 1st degree burns, even if they occupy a large area, can take from several days to 1-2 weeks. As a rule, the pain in the area of ​​such burns passes quickly, the skin gradually acquires a normal color (it can be slightly dark and dry) and after 1-2 weeks it begins to peel and is completely renewed.

The healing of 2nd and 3rd degree burns depends on the area of ​​wounds that form at the site of blisters or after exfoliation of dead skin. Small burns usually heal in 1-2 weeks. Burns with a large area may take longer to heal.

Unlike 1st degree burns, 2nd and 3rd degree burns often leave scars, however, as clinical observations show, it is quite difficult to predict in which cases a scar will form and how noticeable it will be. It largely depends on the individual characteristics of the affected person's skin.

If after skin injuries that you have suffered in the past (scratches, cuts, operations, burns) you have already formed rough scars on your skin, this may mean that your skin is prone to the formation of scars and means the probability of the appearance of a scar after a new injury (burn) is quite high.

If you would like to prevent the appearance of a scar and it has been 2 weeks since the burn and the wound has not yet healed – be sure to consult a doctor (plastic surgeon). In order to reduce the likelihood of the formation of a scar, the doctor will have to prescribe you a special treatment, which is described in detail in our article How to get rid of scars and scars.

In the same article, you can also find recommendations on how to get rid of fresh scars or old scars (scars) that have formed on the skin after a burn.

Use additional measures to fully restore the skin after a burn

The new skin formed in the area of ​​the burn is usually very delicate, dries quickly and is easily injured. In order to protect it, until full recovery, experts recommend using skin softening and moisturizing agents that will make it more moist and elastic, preventing cracking and peeling.

Detailed recommendations on this matter are presented in the article Skin moisturizers.

Can you sunbathe after thermal burns?

If the area of ​​the healed burn is located on parts of the body, which you usually do not cover with clothes, during the next 6-12 months try not to sunbathe and apply sunscreen to it and the skin around it. This will help reduce the likelihood of the appearance of pigment spots (marks) and a strong difference in color between the burn area and the surrounding skin.

As you can read in our article on tanning and sunscreens, currently experts in the field of dermatology strongly recommend that people refrain from tanning, including in order to reduce the likelihood of developing skin cancer. If you would like to get a tan, check out our recommendations in this article. Maybe they will influence your decision.


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