Burns • Home treatment

Third-degree burns should always be treated by a physician.

Burns - Image of flames from a campfire

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A BURN?

First degree burns

  • Pain
  • Reddening of the outer skin layer

Second degree burns

  • Blistering
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Third degree burns

  • Numbness
  • White or blackened skin

MEDICAL FIRST AID

If you suffer a burn, first thing you might want to do is put the fire out. Remove any clothing associated with the wound and run cold, but not icy, water over the burn for several to 30 minutes, or until the burning stops.  Depending on the body part, you might soak the area in cold water.  If clothing sticks to the burn, rinse over the clothing and visit your physician.

Third degree burns should always be attended by a doctor.  If your skin is charred and white or creamy colored, go to the doctor/hospital.  Any burns on your face or in your eyes or show signs of infection also require medical attention.  Don’t use any topical creams or ointments; just flush with water and then seek medical help.

First and second-degree burns, which you can self-treat, should heal in several days to two weeks.  After treating with cold water, wrap in a clean dry cloth or bandage and leave it alone for a day.  Even with first and second-degree burns, it would be wise to get medical attention if the burn is large or if the victim is very young or very old.

Your doctor might prescribe a tetanus shot.

SELF TREATMENT

The suggestions below are self-treatments that others have found helpful for this condition and are offered as information for your further research.

After 24 hours, you can wash gently and apply a natural skin-healing ointment or compress:

  • Aloe Vera leaf gel (fresh if you can find it)
  • Coconut oil and lemon juice (mostly oil)
  • Honey applied fresh a few times a day
  • Lavender water (a few drops to a cup of water) and use with a cloth for a cold compress.  Refresh often
  • Onion. Fresh onion juice (must be fresh) applied several times a day
  • Plantain–If you live in a tropical or sub-tropical environment, crush fresh plantain leaves into a paste and apply to the burn.  Cover with a cloth and replace after it dries
  • Potato. Raw grated potato (about 15 minutes)
  • Tea, black. Soak a cloth in cool black tea and place it on the burn, or alternatively, apply a cold, wet tea bag.
  • Vanilla extract applied topically
  • Vinegar. Dilute vinegar with water 1:1, soak a cloth in it and apply to the wound.  Refresh often.

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Aloe vera
  • Calendula
  • Ching Wan Hung
  • Comfrey
  • Echinacea
  • Gotu Kola
  • Lavender
  • Plantain

ESSENTIAL OILS

  • Lavender oil mixed with aloe juice
  • Lavender oil undiluted for a small first-degree burn

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Colloidal silver applications
  • Grindelia ointment
  • Honey. Small, non-serious burns may heal faster when treated with honey than burns treated with antibiotic creams or other dressings.
  • Oatmeal bath
  • Primrose ointment
  • Tamanu massage oil
  • Vitamin E oil, applied topically
  • Witch hazel

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

  • Do not use ice on a burn.
  • Don’t pop blisters.
  • Don’t use butter or oils.
  • Stay out of the sun.
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