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When to Seek Medical Treatment for a Burn

CareNow® - January 25, 2016
by CareNow

According to statistics from the American Burn Association, an estimated 450,000 patients receive medical treatment in a hospital or emergency room for a burn each year. While there are many other burn injuries that occur each year, not everyone seeks medical treatment. So how do you know when a burn is serious enough to require a trip to an urgent care facility or emergency room? Seek treatment immediately if your burn:

  1. Looks dry, is painless, or looks charred
  2. Results in uncontrollable pain
  3. Affects the hands, face, feet or genitals
  4. Involves more than 10% of the body

If you believe your burn is mild enough to treat at home, there are a few ways to alleviate the pain and help the burn heal quickly. Run cool water over the effected area, then hold a cold compress on the burn until the pain begins to lessen. Once the pain has lessened, be sure to dress the burn to protect it from further harm. Before the bandage is placed, you may want to apply antibiotic cream. In addition to the above, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs are also helpful for alleviating pain.

It’s likely during your search for burn remedies you may stumble upon a number of treatments that can actually create more damage than benefit. If you read any of the following recommendations, avoid them:

  • Applying butter is often suggested as a treatment for burns; however, this can actually cause infection on burns.
  • Some people will recommend breaking the blister if possible, but this can also increase your chance of infection on the burn.

If you’ve experienced a serious burn and need medical help, visit your local CareNow immediately. By utilizing the web check-in, you will avoid the waiting room on your visit and will be seen quickly.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.