Burn is any injury caused to skin or flesh due to heat, chemicals, electricity, radiation and friction. There are different types of burns according to the severity and according to the cause of the burns. The treatment provided to a victim of a burn depends on the severity and the cause. In the United States, 69% of the burn injuries occur at home or work. Burn can cause trauma to the affected person and even minor burns can lead to blisters that are painful. Home remedies for minor burns are effective in treating the minor burns. The main problem caused by burn is infections. Extensive burns may require surgical treatments and large burns can sometime be fatal.
Types Of Burns Based On Causes
- Heat Burns Or Thermal Burns– These burns are caused by fire, hot objects such as hair curlers or iron box or by hot liquids. The most common heat burns are the scald burn caused by hot liquids in children and in older adults.
- Chemical Burns – These are caused by contact with any chemicals for household or industrial use. Acids are a main cause for chemical burns.
- Electrical Burns – contact with any electrical source or lightning can cause electrical burns.
- Radiation Burns – these burns are caused by sun, sunlamps, tanning booths, X-rays or by radiation used in cancer treatment.
- Friction Burns– these are caused by friction with any hard surface. Falling on roads, athletic tracks or playing courts can cause both scrape and heat burns.
Types Of Burns Based On Severity
Apart from injuring the skin layers burns can injure body parts like muscles, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, lungs. Depending on the level of damage to skin layers and tissues burn are of four types
First Degree Burns
This is the least serious burns which affect only the outer skin layer. The symptoms of first degree burns are
• The skin becomes red
• There is swelling in the area
• Sometimes there is pain
The first- degree burn is considered as a minor burn. These superficial burns will cause pain and discomfort for 2- 4 days.
Second Degree Burns
In this both epidermis and dermis layers are affected. These burns are classified into two
Superficial partial thickness burns- which extends to superficial dermis
This is characterized by
• Redness along with blisters
• Blisters which blanch with pressure
• Very painful
Deep partial thickness-This extends to the deepest part of the dermis
• Skin color changes to yellow or white
• Causes pressure and discomfort
Third Degree Burns
These burns are also known as full- thickness burns. This will injure all the skin layers and tissues under the skin. These burns usually require medical treatment
Fourth Degree Burns
These burns extend deeper and injure muscles, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and bones. These burns always require immediate medical treatment.
What Are Minor Burns?
The first – degree burns and second – degree burn which is not larger than 3 inches in diameter is considered as minor burns. These minor burns respond very well to the home remedies for minor burns. If the burned area is larger or if the burn is on face, groin, buttocks or over an important joint, it has to be considered as a major burn and medical help will be needed.
First Aid For Minor Burns
When burns occur, the person should be given first aid, before starting any treatment. The first aids for minor burns include
• Running cold water over the area of burn for five minutes, if the skin is unbroken
• Keeping a wet towel over the burn to reduce pain
• After flushing with cold water or soaking with cold water, cover the area with a sterile bandage or clean dressing
• Protect the burn from dust, pressure and friction
• Applying moisturizing lotion after the skin has cooled is also effective in reducing pain
What You Should Avoid?
If you are having minor or major burns, you should not do the following things
• Do not apply butter, ice, cream, or any sprays to relieve the pain, especially if there are major burns.
• Do not disturb the blistered or dead skin
• Do not blow air or cough on the burn
• Do not try to remove the clothing attached to the skin in severe burns
• If there is airways burn, do not give anything to eat
When To Call For Medical Help In The Case Of Burns?
• If the burn is extensive or more than the size of your palm
• If the person is suffering from third- degree burns
• If the burn is due to chemicals or electricity
• If the person has inhaled smoke
• If physical abuse is the reason for burn
• If there are other damages along with burns
• If you are not sure about the seriousness of the burn
You can contact your doctor if the pain due to the minor burns lasts more than two days or if there are signs of infection like increased pain, swelling, pus oozing from the burn, fever etc.
It is better to prevent the chances of burns than treating it. You can prevent burns by
• Installing smoke alarms in your home
• Creating awareness among children about fire safety and the hazards of fireworks and matches
• Keep the stove, oven and iron, electrical cords out of reach of children
• Placing fire extinguishers in home, school, industries and in public places
• Know about the fire escape routes at home, work or at school
• Wear cotton dresses while working in the kitchen
• Use fire- resistant clothes while working in industries
Home Remedies For Minor Burns
Usually the minor burns will heal on their own after two to three days. Home remedies for minor burns can relive the symptoms and help in faster healing. Here are some of the top remedies for minor burns.
You can use loose and comfortable clothing which will not rub onto the burned areas. This will allow air to pass and keep the blisters if any, intact. There are more chances of infection if the skin on the blisters is removed.
Take Frequent Showers
If the minor burn has affected larger areas take frequent cool showers or baths to relieve the pain and discomfort. If the burn is limited to small areas run water on the particular areas at regular intervals.
This is considered as one of the most effective home remedies for minor burns. Honey helps in healing and it is a disinfectant. So, it prevents infection chances. When applied to the affected area, it draws out the liquids from the area and cleans the burn. Put honey on gauze and apply it on the burn. If you want to get faster healing, change the gauze 3to 4 times a day. Honey also prevents scarring due to burns. This is a remedy with scientific backing.
Vinegar has astringent and antiseptic properties which help to prevent infections as well as for healing the burn. Take equal amounts of vinegar and water and mix it. Rinse the burned area with this solution. This solution relaxes the skin tissue and gives relief from pain. You can cover the injured area with a cloth soaked in vinegar solution. Remember to change the cloth every 3- 4 hours.
Aloe Vera is another important home remedy for burns. You can use the fresh Aloe Vera gel or the juice. Wash the affected area with cold water or vinegar before applying Aloe Vera on the burn. Cut a piece of Aloe Vera leaf and take out the gel and apply it directly on the burn. Aloe Vera offers tissue- healing, pain relief and cleansing properties which are necessary for the proper healing of the burns without scars.
You can use the egg whites for treating burns at home. Take the white part of one or two eggs according to the size of the affected area. Apply the egg white onto the area and allow it to dry naturally. You will not feel pain as long as the applied egg white is wet. When the applied white dries up apply fresher egg white on the affected area. This simple natural treatment can keep you pain free for a few hours after the application. This technique will speed up the healing process.
This is another simple and easily available option to treat burns and to dissipate the pain. Mix required amount of baking soda with water to make a paste and apply this paste onto the burnt areas in the body. After the mix gets dried, rinse it off and repeat the application.
This remedy is one of the oldest remedy for treating minor burns. You can pour the oil directly over the minor burns. You can expect immediate relief from pain using this remedy. The antiseptic property protects you from any infection. You can also pour the oil onto the gauze or clean cloth and apply it on the burn. It promotes natural healing of the burn.
There are different ways of using the tea bags for burn treatment. One method is to keep 2-3 tea bags under the spout of cold water and applying that liquid. You can also make a mixture using 3-4 tea bags, 2 cups of fresh mint leaves and 4 cups of boiling water and apply it on the burn ball using cotton after the mixture gets cooled. It is better to opt for black tea as the tannin present in it reduces the pain considerably.
There are a lot of people who recommend soy sauce as one of the effective home remedies for burns. It is said to be an ideal pain relief. All you need to do is to apply the soy sauce liberally on the minor burn areas in your body for about half an hour and you will feel the burns to be less painful.
Juices Of Fresh Onions
As most chefs say that onion juice has a lot of healing power. It is found to be quite effective to reduce the pain as well as to prevent the skin from blistering. But, bear in mind that juices from freshly cut onions will only provide you healing from minor burns. The quercetin and sulfur compounds in onion will provide relief from burns and pains.
Plantain leaves are said to be very popular and effective home remedy for burns and has been used to treat minor burns in India for ages. The anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-hemorrhagic properties of plantain leaves are a cure for many diseases. All you need to do is to crush a few plantain leaves and extract the juice from them. You need to apply the juice to the affected area on our body. You can also smash the leaf with a heavy object and then wrap the leaf around the minor burns in your body to soothe the burn pain.
Cold water is one of the most important things that you need to use on your minor burns to cool the area.
• You need to run cold water over the burn area for several minutes. You an also cold compress the affected area for a few minutes.
• This is the first thing that you need to do if you suffer from a minor burn to prevent it from spreading.
• Repeat the process of cold compress or running cold water treatment every couple of hours to alleviate burn pains.
• Always make sure that you do not use ice on the affected burn area as it damages your tissues.
The raw potatoes have anti irritating and soothing properties and hence can be used to treat minor skin problems. All you need to do is to cut a slice of the potato and rub it on the burn so that the fresh potato juice gets in contact with the burn area. You need to use this home remedy instantly after the burn for effective results.
Have you suffered from a minor burn? Are you finding it difficult to bear the minor burn pains? Then, the above tips will offer you some of the best home remedies for burns that have been tried and tested by a lot of people with burn injuries.