How Do You Help a Burn?


Quick Answer

For minor burns from heat or flame, WebMD recommends cooling the burn with cool running water or compresses. Cover the burn with a clean cloth or sterile non-stick bandage and treat pain with over-the counter pain medications like acetaminophen, naproxen or ibuprofen.

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Full Answer

Second- and third-degree burns require immediate medical attention, according to WebMD. For second-degree burns that penetrate the top two layers of skin, cool the burn by immersing the skin in cool water or applying cool compresses. Do not use ice, break blisters or apply ointments. Cover the burn with a non-adhesive bandage or gauze, taping securely well away from the actual burn. Protect against shock by laying the victim flat on his back with his feet elevated, and elevate the burn area above the heart if possible. Cover the victim with a blanket or coat.

Do not submerge third-degree burns in cool water as there is a greater chance for hypothermia and shock, cautions Mayo Clinic. Use the same elevation methods and coverage methods as second-degree burns but do not remove clothing unless it is required to prevent further burns. Check often for signs of circulation, and begin CPR if the victim is not breathing. Do not leave the victim alone and call emergency services immediately.

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