The first step of treatment for a second-degree burn due to boiling water is to rinse the skin with cool, but not cold, water for 15 to 30 minutes, according to WebMD. The water helps to lower the temperature of the skin and stops the burn from becoming more serious.
It is important to clean the burn with mild soap and water, explains WebMD. Be careful not to break the blisters, but note that some skin may fall away during the washing process. After cleaning, dry the burn by patting it with a clean gauze or cloth. Apply antibiotic ointment to the burn, and then bandage it if necessary. Clean and apply a new bandage any time the old one becomes wet or dirty.
When bandaging the burn area, make sure the bandage is loose to prevent too much pressure on the skin, advises WebMD. If the burn is on the arm, leg or hand, note that placing tape around these extremities may cause swelling. There are a number of nonprescription dressings for burned skin available from local drug stores. If the burn is on the arm or leg, try to raise the limb for the first 24 to 48 hours to reduce swelling, and then move the limb normally to keep the skin from healing tightly.