By Leanne Shelton
Burns are one of the most common household injuries. There certainly are a lot of ways that someone could get burned in the home – touching the stove, with boiling water, touching something in the oven, using curling irons and hair straighteners, brewing coffee, and the list could go on and on.
Burns that happen in the home are usually mild with minor pain, redness, swelling. These burns are first-degree burns that only affect the outer layer of skin. Second-degree burns may cause blisters and white, wet, shiny skin. These burns may affect some deeper layers of the skin. Both first and second-degree burns can be treated at home.
Third and fourth-degree burns are the most severe and should immediately be treated by a medical professional. Third-degree burns affect all layers of the skin while fourth-degree burns may cause damage to joints and bones.
To properly treat mild burns at home, remove yourself from the source of the burn. Cool the burn with running water for 10 minutes or longer until the pain is relieved. Wrap the burn loosely with a sterile bandage or cling wrap. That’s it. Stop! Cool! Wrap!
There are also a lot of old wives tales and anecdotal information out there about how to treat a burn. These types of home remedies should never be used, and here’s why:
Butter/oil/vaseline/mayonnaise should never be applied to a burn. These substances trap heat, which could cause more damage to the skin. They are also not sterile and may contain bacteria, which increases the risk of infection.
Toothpaste should never be applied to a burn. It contains chemicals such as calcium and peppermint that could irritate the burned skin even further. Toothpaste is not sterile and may increase the risk of infection.
Mustard should never be applied to a burn. Mustard is a non-sterile skin irritant that could cause further damage and increase the risk of infection.
Milk should never be applied to a burn. The bacteria in milk could multiply and cause infection.
Hydrogen peroxide and/or white vinegar should never be applied to a burn. These antiseptic agents will cause the pain to increase and will cause more damage to skin tissue.
Ice and very cold water should never be applied to a burn. Remedies that are too cold may cause more damage to the skin.
There may be more home remedies for burns out there. Do not use them! The proper and safest way to treat a mild burn at home is Stop! Cool! Wrap!
For more information on burns, contact Shoen Safety and Training. To learn CPR and First Aid and become American Red Cross certified, register for a CPR/First Aid class with Shoen Safety and Training. There are a lot of options available to fit your schedule. The peace of mind that you’ll get from knowing how to respond in an emergency situation is priceless.