When we hear or think of the word ‘burn’, the first picture that comes to mind is skin getting in contact with fire or any hot object. But, while it’s true that most cases of burns are caused by accidents that usually involve a stove, a clothes iron, or even a candle, other things such as chemicals, electricity, friction, and radiation can also cause burns. Some burns can be quite serious and must be treated in a medical center, while others are pretty non-life threatening and can be treated with first aid. That’s what this article is all about. But, first let’s define what a burn is.
What Is A Burn?
Burns that don’t affect more than the superficial layer of the skin are known as first-degree burns. They are the most common types of burns and usually affect females who are more frequently exposed to cooking fires. First-degree burns, or superficial burns, can cause pain that lasts two to three days. They are typically red in color, although more severe burns may be pink or eve black.
Meanwhile, a burn can be considered second-degree if it damages the outer layer of the skin the layer underneath it. Also known as partial thickness burn, this type of burn causes the affected area to appear red, blistered, and swollen, as well as feel very painful. Scald injuries, flames, sunburn, chemicals, and electricity are some of the most common causes of second-degree burns. This type of burn usually heals in three weeks, although larger and deeper burns may take longer to heal. While second-degree burns may be treated with home remedies, it is highly advised that they be treated by a physician right after first aid has been applied.
The most dangerous type of burn is the third-degree burn, as it involves damage of the deepest layer of the skin and the tissues underneath it. It may also involve a larger area and may require skin grafting or even the use of synthetic skin. When not treated immediately, this type of burn may cause infection, and in worse cases, death.
Ways To Treat A Burn At Home
Among the three burn types, the first-degree and second-degree burns are the only ones that could be treated at home. Third-degree burns should immediately be treated in a hospital. Having said that, here are natural ways you can treat superficial burns at home.
Running cold water over the burn area for at least two minutes will stop the pain from spreading. Do this every few hours until the pain subsides. Keep in mind not to use ice as it will restrict the blood flow and may damage the delicate tissues.
Honey is known to be an effective disinfectant, but what it does best for a superficial burn is it draws out moisture from the affected area, cleaning the wound and helping it heal quickly. It can even reduce the chance of a scar developing once the wound heals. Apply honey to the burn area by placing some to a gauze bandage and then binding the wound with it. Dress the burn area three times a day for best results.
Coconut Oil + Lemon Juice
Mixing coconut oil with lemon juice makes it an excellent first-aid treatment for a minor burn. Coconut oil is high in fatty acids like caprylic, myristic acid, and lauric acid. It’s also rich in Vitamin E. Meanwhile, lemon juice has acidic properties that may help deal with the scars later on. To use, just mix a small amount of lemon juice with coconut oil and apply on the affected area. To facilitate quick healing, reapply mixture every three to five hours.
There have been conflicting findings in studies done on the effect of aloe vera on burns. However, one study found that aloe vera might be beneficial after all. In the study, 27 patients with second-degree burn were treated with aloe vera gel and Vaseline gauze. After only 11 days, the wound among the patients treated with aloe vera gel already healed. It took 7 more days for the rest of the patients to heal.
Tea bags are very popular home remedies for burns. In fact, some sweat it to be the single most effective ways to treat burn at home. Perhaps this is due to the tea’s ability to draw out heat from the affected area. To use, just soak a bag or two of tea (depending on the size of the burn) in lukewarm water until the water turns black. Next, dunk a piece of cloth into the water and dab it into affected area. Re-apply when necessary, and avoid washing it off if possible.
A lot of moms swear that soy sauce is a miracle cure for burns. It may seem to be a simple addition to a home-cooked meal, but soy sauce, aside from adding flavor to food, is high in antioxidants and has anti-allergenic and antimicrobial properties. Sometimes, when you’re cooking and get a minor burn, reaching out for that bottle of soy sauce will surely provide quick relief!
Lavender Essential Oil
Another secret weapon against a minor burn is lavender oil. It works because it contains active ingredients such as linlyl acetate and linalool, both having anesthetic and analgesic properties. Lavender oil is very easy to use for burns. Simply dab some on the burn area and re-apply when necessary and depending on the severity of the burn.
What About Sunburns?
Since sunburn is one of the most common types of burns, we’ve dedicated a special section for it. Sunburn is one of the types of burns that result to overexposure to radiation from ultraviolet rays. Most sunburn only cause the skin to turn red, but serious variations may result to blisters. The following are natural ways you can treat sunburn when you have one.
Applying cool (not cold) compress is an effective first-aid remedy for sunburn. It should do its job reducing the heat and the pain until you find a better remedy.
Yes, it’s aloe vera once again. We’ve already talked about the effectiveness of aloe vera for burns, and yes (again), it’s just as effective in treating sunburns. It won’t only relieve the pain caused by sunburn, but will also keep the skin moisturized, helping with the peeling of the skin later on.
Lots of Water
Burned skin is usually dehydrated, so make sure you drink lots of water when you have sunburn. This will help replace lost fluids from the affected area, allowing your skin to heal more quickly.
Since they have natural analgesic properties and are also rich in antioxidants, cucumbers are excellent home remedies for sunburn. Simply chill an adequate amount and mash in a blender to come up with a paste. Apply the paste on the affected area as necessary. This will help the burn heal faster as well as provide some soothing feeling to the skin.
Adding cornstarch with water and applying the paste onto your sunburn will soothe the skin in minutes. It’s one of the quickest (and cheapest) ingredients you can use to treat sunburn when you’re itching for a quick relief.
You may or may not have heard of this remedy, but applying sliced potatoes directly to your sunburnt skin will help soothe it quickly. The starch in the potatoes can draw out heat from the burnt skin and is therefore an effective way to get relief when you have a sunburn. You can also grate the potato instead of slicing it, and then apply the pulp on the affected area.
When To Seek Medical Help For a Burn
There’s no question about seeking professional medical help immediately when you have third-degree burns. But, what about minor burns? First-degree burns and second-degree burns are usually treatable at home and non-life threatening. However, when you start developing blisters due to a burn, it’s advisable that you see a doctor even if it doesn’t seem to be serious. When left untreated, a small burn may develop an infection and get worse. Signs of infection include redness and swelling, increased pain, and ooze coming from the wound. Also, if a burn or a blister doesn’t heal in three weeks, it’s a sign that you need to see a doctor. It’s also important to call your physician immediately if you notice new symptoms that might be connected to the burn.
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