For people who think that the best way to take care of a burn wound is to cool it down with cold water.
As a matter of fact, using cold water doesn’t cool the wound that much. In this article, we will introduce the proper ways to take care of a burn injury.
How to properly take care of a burn injury
1. First things to be careful of
2. Use tap water instead of cold water
3. Precautions when taking care of burn injuries
1・First things to be careful of
The first aid instructions we will introduce in this article are for minor degree burns.
For severe burn injuries, please go to your nearest hospital.
How big is a severe burn?
A severe burn injury is when over 1% of your body (about the size of your palm) is burned. If you burn your self to this degree, go to a hospital immediately while cooling the wounded area.
The deepness of a severe burn
Burn injuries that become red and have a stinging pain, or ones that give you small blisters can be cured by cooling it down by yourself. But if it feels that the wound is deeper, quickly c
2・Use tap water instead of cold water
For light burn injuries, while touching boiling water or a hot frying pan, cooling it down immediately is the most effective (and widely known) way to cure it.
You might tend to think that cooling the wound with ice cold water may quicken the healing process, but it may actually slow down the process.
Applying cold water to the wound may create a layer of lukewarm water depending on the temperature of the skin, making it difficult for the skin to heal properly.
If you burn yourself, don’t apply any medication, and wash the wound with running tap water for 5〜10 minutes.
Use a hose depending on the wounded area. If it is difficult to apply water even if you use a hose, cool it down with a wet towel.
By doing this you can avoid the wound from leaving any marks, and can reduce the pain.
3・Precautions when taking care of burn injuries
Don’t take off your clothes
If boiling water spills over you and your clothes, don’t take your clothes off, and cool the wound and your clothes with running water.
Taking your clothes off may take skin off with it, or tear blisters.
If you have to take clothes off, it is safer to cut it off with scissors.
Don’t cool it down with ice
It is dangerous to cool the wound for a long time with ice or ice packs. Cooling it down too much may make it worse, and may even give you frostbite. Your body temperature may lower too much, especially during the winter.
Don’t tear blisters
Blisters are created to protect wounds, so don’t tear them. If you happen to tear them, go to a hospital immediately since the wound may become deeper.
Don’t apply aloe
There are many “folk therapy” methods that are said to cure burn injuries, such as applying aloe, grated radish, honey, potatoes, or miso. But these methods have a chance of making bacteria go inside the wound, causing infection or suppuration wounds.
Children and elders need special caution
Children have thin skin, and skin cells of elders take time to reproduce. If you’re an elder, even if you think that the burn wound is light, we recommend you go to a doctor, since it may become worse later on.
Take off rings and watches。
When you burn yourself, your body may swell up because of the healing process of the body. Wearing a ring or watch may affect the blood circulation, and may make the ring or watch difficult to take off. We recommend you take them off as quickly as you can.
Take off your clothes if it is a burn caused by chemical medicine
For burns created by chemical medicines, take off clothes that is wet with the substance, and then wash the medicine off with water.
But if it is a burn caused by quicklime, be careful since it may become hot if contacted with water.
Burns caused by chemical substances are said to be more dangerous and give more damage compared to normal burn injuries.
We recommend you go to the hospital as quickly as you can.
Don’t cool the wound with water from the river, well, or sewer.
You may get infected.
Burns that don’t hurt are extremely dangerous.
When you get an extremely deep burn injury, your body doesn’t hurt at all or get blisters. Your skin becomes white or burned black.
If this happens, go to the hospital immediately while cooling it down, or call an ambulance.
When I was a child, I had an experience of burning myself at a bicycle parking lot when my thighs touched the muffler of a bike that was just parked. Since no one back then knew how to properly take care of the wound, ten years later I still have a scar left on my legs. Just a small piece of knowledge can make great change in the long run. We hope you will remember this article when you or a friend gets a burn injury.