by Sam Samalin, PA-C
Patients have asked what they should do if they or their children get burned. Every situation is different but they all have one thing in common: Someone got injured. Below, I have presented the most common questions and their respective answers.
What is the first thing I should do if burned?
The first thing you should do if a burn occurs and the most important thing is make sure it is clean and dry. In all cases you should be able to use a mild soap and lukewarm water to clean and sanitize the wound.
Patients ask “Are topical ointments recommended?”
The use of Neosporin or other topical ointment isn’t necessarily required in all situations. Sometimes, using it excessively can keep the wound moist and can actually delay the healing process to some degree. If you initially cleaned the wound and can keep it clean and dry, you may not need an antibiotic ointment at all. How can I manage the pain
How can I manage the pain if I’ve been burned?
Most individuals with burns can take an ibuprofen or Tylenol at the recommended over-the-counter dosage to manage pain. There are also some topical pain relievers that can be used, such as burn free wipes; which have a light dose of numbing medication in them. Always be sure to follow the guidelines provided on the packaging of the pain-relieving medications.
When should I seek the help of a Physician or go to an Urgent Care Clinic for my burn?
As a general guideline, if the size of the wound is bigger than the palm of your hand it may need a second opinion or further evaluation.
If the burn occurs around the eyes, nose, ears, toes, and fingers, regardless of size, it’s recommended that a specialist evaluate you, as the wound may become problematic. Lastly, if you notice symptoms of the wound becoming infected (i.e. increased pain, fevering, streaking redness, etc.), you should see a physician.
How can I reduce the scaring from my burn?
Be sure to protect the scab from being torn or peeled off. As the scab comes off maturely, protecting the new skin underneath the scab with sunblock can help reduce scaring.