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Treating Burns

Updated on May 24, 2008

Fire Safety

Ouch! Blasted frying pan!

I felt 'inspired' to write this hub after burning my hand on a red-hot frying pan. I'd like to blame someone else for this burn, like the person who insisted on buying the frying pan in the first place (my husband) but he's not here so I guess I'm stuck with casting evil glares in the smoking frying pan's direction.

We bought this annoying thing 2 weeks ago to replace the old one which was falling apart. It's nice and shiny - definite selling points that make it kitchen worthy - but the annoying thing has a steel handle that goes from 0 degrees to the temperature of molten lava within minutes.

So, I was cooking, after having come home from a long day of work and miserably dealing with the beginning of rainy season. Basically, I was tired and not thinking clearly, and when the frying pan shifted a bit off of the burner, I instinctively grabbed it to hold it steady.

ARGH! The pain! The burning, scalding pain!

Trust me, I said a lot worse than that. I immediately put my hand under cold running water but it didn't alleviate the pain or swelling. A few minutes later I surmised that ice would do the job twice as fast in numbing the area to soothe the wound. Was that ever a totally moronic mistake!

Identify your burn

First of all, regardless of the severity of your burn, do not do any of the following unless you want to make your burn worse:

- Do not add ice

- Don't spread butter over the wound

- Avoid creams or lotions

- No vinegar

- No honey

And for good measure, don't mistakenly put any other type of strange home remedy that you picked up from an unreliable source.

First Degree burns: Sunburns and scalds are mainly red and painful and can be treated by running cool water over it for 15-30 minutes, or until the pain lessens.

Second Degree burns: Severe sunburns and brief contact with hot appliances (aka "The evil frying pan") fit into this category and cause blisters and oozing, and lots of pain. Again, the cool water method works as well as anything is going to.

Third Degree burns: Caused by chemical and electricity or prolonged contact with coils, appliances, and fires. If your skin becomes charred, or white and creamy, seek immediate medical attention. These not to be treated by a professional as soon as possible.

If in doubt, go to a walk-in clinic or your family doctor if the burn covers a large portion of your skin, or if you aren't sure of the level of severity of it.

When a burn goes bad

Treating a minor burn

Any burn not requiring medical attention can be treated with natural remedies. Give the burn time to heal after cooling it down. Keep it clean and wrapped (if necessary) and allow it to naturally heal for 24 hours before treating it. Once it's been given a chance to recover, wash it gently with some mild soap and water. That'll keep it happy and resistant to infections.

After 2 or 3 days, you can soothe the burn and help the healing process by applying some freshly cut aloe to the area. Because of aloe's analgesic properties, it works well for improving the condition of the burn. You can also break open a capsule of vitamin E and rub the liquid onto your skin to prevent scarring and make it feel better.

Be alert at all times

To avoid getting burnt in the first place, avoid dangerous places that contain chemicals or electrical hazards. Don't leave the stove unattended and always wear oven mits when handling hot pots, pans, and before sticking your hands into the stove.

I seriously wish that I'd thought of these clever safety tips before I went and put my left hand out of commission for the weekend.


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    • profile image

      Belizean Princess 5 years ago

      When you get burned the best thing to put on it is Colgate trust me:

      You may ask why, well, is because of the mint in the Colgate that alleviates the pain, heat and the burn! you should try it if you ever get burnt one of these days: everyone makes mistakes. we're just humans...

    • profile image

      Alice H. 5 years ago

      I know how bad a burn hurts from experience with hot greasy chips. I had a second degree bun and right after i was burned I ran straight to the sink and ran it under cold water. I didn't know that it would prevent further burnage but it was almost like a reflex because I've accidentally burned myself with a couple of times with a hair straightener . But never anything too bad.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

      Great hub--lovely writing, just excellent. Instant fan, here.


    • solarshingles profile image

      solarshingles 9 years ago from london

      Very nice and extremely useful hub! It is happening so regularly, that people get burns. This is especially dangerous topic considering children, because they still haven't got deep knowledge, understanding and experiences about the danger of hot liquids and other hot items.

    • Sapphire Eclipse profile image

      Sapphire Eclipse 9 years ago from Japan

      That sounds like an awful horror story, Eileen! I'm always scared of holding a thermos in a moving vehicle because the lids don't always close properly. I'm sorry to hear that your road trip turned into the disaster that it did.

      You didn't suffer any permanent scarring I hope? And yes, it definitely is a good thing that you didn't take the entire valium otherwise that drive home might've gotten a lot worse.

      Thanks so much for the nice comments and be careful around hot objects!

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Very, very, good hub.  I know from experience how hurtful burns can be.  I accidentally upset a boiling hot thermos flask over me on the drive home to the country.

      Luckily a had an Igloo jug full of water and ice, which I kept tipping over me until I could not stand the pain anymore. ( I have to add I had nylon stockings on)

      In the end my husband took me to a hospital 200 kms later and they wanted to give me valium before they would let me leave there. Because I was being affected by shock. I refused, but eventually took half a one as they would not let us leave.

      As we still had 450 kms more to drive, to get home. My husband was tired and we stopped to sleep for an hour.  Then he drove 200k's and was falling asleep.  I had to drive 200 k's and then he took over again. 

      What a nightmare. I would never wish that trip on anyone.  I just want to reafirm what you said, water is the best and safest treatment until you receive medical treatment.

      I often wonder what would have happened to us if I had taken the full valium.  I shudder to think.   Great hub.  Very well written too.  Thanks for sharing.