How do I treat second degree burns?

Soaking a burn in cold water can help.

A second-degree burn over a large area of ​​skin, face, hands, feet, buttocks, groin, or over a large joint should receive immediate emergency medical attention. In all other cases, you can treat second-degree burns by carefully removing any material covering the wound and soaking the burned area in cold water. Unless directed by a doctor, do not put any type of lotion on the burn. During healing, the burned skin must be covered with a sterile dressing, which must be changed daily. After treatment, you should be on the lookout for signs of shock and infection.

The first three degrees of burns.

Burns are classified based on whether they increase in severity into first, second, or third degree. Second-degree burns involve damage to the top layer of the skin, called the epidermis, and the middle layer of the skin, called the dermis. These types of burns are characterized by a red or pink hue, usually accompanied by swelling, tending to blisters filled with clear fluid, and are quite painful. Most second-degree burns heal in two to three weeks.

Burnt skin should be wrapped with a bandage, although burns to the hands, feet, or face require immediate medical attention.

Emergency medical care is needed for a second-degree burn that is larger than 3 inches (about 7.5 cm) or occurs on the face, hands, feet, buttocks, groin, or near any major joint. If not, you can begin treating these burns at home by carefully removing any clothing or jewelry that is on or near the burn. Place the burned area in cold water and let it soak for 15 minutes, but do not place ice in the water bath or directly on the burned skin, as the affected area can easily develop frostbite or further damage. Unless directed by a doctor, ointments, creams, butter, or oil should not be used to treat second-degree burns because these products can trap heat within the skin, causing further damage or leading to wound infection. If the patient shows signs of shock, such as dilated pupils, low blood pressure, or rapid breathing, seek medical help immediately.

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Second-degree burns that are at risk of infection should be examined by a doctor.

For long-term care, you should treat second-degree burns by covering them with a sterile dressing and changing the dressing daily. To avoid infections, do not treat second-degree burns by breaking blisters. You should also be on the lookout for any signs of infection of the blister or burned area, such as redness, swelling, increased pain, or fluid discharge. If an infection develops, see a doctor. Painful second-degree burns can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers.

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