There are several ways to treat a burn, all of which can help provide comfort and aid in healing at the same time. The age-old advice of putting ice on a burn doesn’t apply anymore. My son, the Boy Scout, will tell you so! The truth is that ice can cause further damage to exposed nerve endings, something you definitely don’t want to happen. So, here are some safe ways to treat a burn so you can heal it and avoid having a scar left behind.
1. Cool Water
Avoid ice cold water, but cool water is the most perfect of the many ways to treat a burn. It helps soothe the area and cool the burn without making the injury worse. You can easily turn on the tap and hold the burned area under it. If you don’t have access to a sink and faucet, use bottled water poured over the burn or cool water from the hose. You’ll feel better instantly and you can help keep the burn from getting worse by letting your skin cool on its own.
2. Cool Compress
Much like cool water, a soaked cloth can provide instant relief to burned skin. Wet a washcloth or small towel and gently lay it on the area. Be careful not to slide it across the burn because that can make the injury worse. As the cloth gets warm, refresh it with more cool water and reapply.
3. Wrap the Burn in Gauze
The Mayo Clinic cautions against using anything but gauze because it can stick to the burn and pull off skin when you take it off. Wrap the gauze around the burned skin, not too tightly though, which helps keep the air from causing pain and can help alleviate inflammation and swelling that often comes with a burn.
4. Take a Painkiller
An over the counter painkiller isn’t going to make your burn go away any faster, but it will definitely alleviate the discomfort. Combined with other treatments on this list, Tylenol or Ibuprofen can aid in reducing swelling while also making pain a thing of the past. In no time, that burn will be healed up and you won’t have to remember the pain it causes.
5. Apply Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a natural burn treatment and I can attest to just how well it works. Look for aloe vera gel at the drugstore and gently apply it to the burned area. If you have an aloe plant, snap off one of the spikes and spread the gel inside directly to the burn. Not only does the gel help heal the injury, but it also pulls the heat out and reduces the pain and discomfort that comes with a burn.
6. Use Antibiotic Cream
A burn exposes the nerve endings and skin underneath your top layer, which increases the risk of germs and bacteria getting in and causing an infection. By slathering on a layer of antibiotic cream on the burn, you can kill the nasties while also soothing the area. Put gauze over the cream to keep it from smearing on your clothes or furniture and to help encourage it to soak in and do its magic on the injury.
7. Don’t Scratch
A healing burn itches like crazy. That means you will have to refrain from scratching it or you’ll make the healing process take longer and might even cause a scar. Keep your fingernails short to help prevent scratching. Keeping the burn covered can also help.
Of course, if you have a large burn or it’s very bad, head to the emergency room right away for proper treatment. How do you treat a burn?