To treat a burn without a bandage, first rinse the burned area with cool water until the pain ceases, explains WebMD. Typically, 15 to 30 minutes of rinsing is sufficient for stopping the pain. After rinsing, clean the burn with mild soap and water, then pat the area dry with gauze or a clean cloth. Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin or Polysporin. This ointment can be applied to the burn each time it is cleaned.
If the burned area is on a leg or arm, raise the limb as much as possible for the first 24 to 48 hours after the burn occurs. Doing so decreases swelling, according to WebMD. Move the arm or leg as you normally would to ensure the burned skin does not heal too tightly.
Rinsing a burn lowers the temperature of the skin and prevents the burn from worsening, notes WebMD. Place burns on arms, fingers, legs, toes or feet in a basin of cool water. Cool facial burns or burns elsewhere on the body by applying a cold compress to the area. Do not use ice or ice water to rinse burns, due to the risk of tissue damage. Always remove any jewelry, rings or clothing that are in the way or may become too tight with swelling.
Before cleaning a burn, wash your hands to prevent infection. Blisters should be left intact. Do not apply sprays or butters to burns, as these can trap heat within the burn, according to WebMD.
If the burned skin and blisters are intact, a bandage may not be necessary, states WebMD. However, if the burned area or blisters are open, a bandage is necessary to prevent infection.