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Home Remedies for Burns

There are three types of burns:
Source: Wikimedia CommonsThere are three types of burns:

  • First- degree burns
  • Second- degree burns
  • Third-degree burns


First-degree burns

A first-degree burn is referred to as a ‘minor burn’ since it only affects the top layer of the skin also known as the epidermis (outer layer of the skin).

Symptoms of a first degree burn are pain followed by swelling and redness of skin which may further lead to the formation of blisters.

Run cool water on the burnt skin for 5 minutes. Refrain from applying cold water or ice as the cooling effect given out by cold water and ice can further damage the wound.

Pat dry and apply a layer of toothpaste. You can also apply a layer of  Bacitracin or Polysporin ointment to soothe the pain and swelling instead of toothpaste.

First – degree burns take between 3 to 6 days to heal. Peeling of skin may occur after the 1st or 2nd day.

Second-degree burns

When a burn damages the second layer of the skin (dermis) it’s known as a second – degree burn.

Second – degree burns are more severe than first-degree burns and will cause the skin to severely blister and will be accompanied by extreme pain and redness of the skin.

The burn can take up to 3 weeks to heal.

Apply cool water or soak the affected area in the water for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not use cold water or ice since the coldness given out by the ice and cold water can damage the wound further.

Cover the burnt area with a gauze to prevent air getting in and aggravating the blisters further.

Do not use gauze if applying an ointment on the wound. Recommended ointments to apply are Bacitracin or Polysporin.

Third-degree burns

A third-degree burn is the most serious of burns and damages all the skin layers (epidermis and dermis) including the tissues underneath. The wound will have a dry waxy leathery appearance and there will be no pain or feeling in the area due to the nerves being damaged.

Third – degree burns can be caused:
  • when skin comes in contact with hot water
  • when skin comes in contact with flames, hot objects, or electricity
  • by corrosive chemicals


Treating third-degree burns should never be attempted at home but only at a hospital or clinic.

How to Treat Third - Degree Burns until Help Arrives

If the person is in flames put it out using a blanket, rug, or jacket. Never attempt to remove his clothing once the flames are put out since skin too can be taken out along with the clothing.

Keep the victim calm. Immediately call 911 and request them to send help and ask them what you should do until help arrives. 

© 2012 Suranee Perera


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