You may have heard a lot of bad advice about burn self-treatment. Many "old-fashioned" burn treatment advice can actually make matters much worse. However, there are things you can do to minimize the damage until you can get proper medical treatment. Here is more information about burn treatment myths and what you can do until you can get to a burn treatment center.
Do Not Put Butter on Your Burn
Do not put any type of food or cream on your burn, especially honey, butter, or alcohol. These items increase your chance of infection and damage to your skin. Plus, most of these remedies don't work and can potentially increase the pain.
Do Not Put Ice on Your Burn
Never put any type of ice or even very cold water on a burn. Some medical experts do recommend holding a minor burn under cool or tepid running water for up to 20 minutes to reduce pain. However, don't do this with an open wound as it can potentially cause an infection.
Do Not Wrap a Severe Burn in a Towel
While sometimes you can wrap a minor burn in a wet towel or cool compress, avoid touching or wrapping an open burn the same way. If you have an open wound, covering it with a clean, sterile gauze until you can get to the doctor's office is OK.
Do Not Cut Off Stuck Clothing
Resist the temptation of removing stuck clothing over burns. You can remove clothing around the burn, but not the material actually stuck to the burn. Some synthetic clothing can actually melt into your wound. Pulling it off could also rip off healthy tissue. Wait until you get to the emergency room before trying to remove it.
Do Not Break Blisters
If you have burn blisters, resist breaking them. Blisters are one of your skin's self-defense mechanisms against damage and infection. If you break one, then you are inviting an infection. Instead, cover your blister with a clean bandage. If you have a minor burn or only a few blisters, they may resolve on their own. However, check with your doctor to be sure, especially if the blister is especially red and glossy or you have an open wound.
Most of the above advice is designed to reduce the chance of infection and keep the burn from getting worse. With minor burns, you may also be able to take your standard pain reliever, but the best advice is to ask a medical professional first. Minor burns covering a large area, or burns with blisters or open skin, need medical attention and professional burn treatment.
To learn more about burn treatment, contact a local medical health professional.