Treating burns at home, if the injury is not too severe, can be the quickest way to relieve suffering. More severe burns require immediate medical attention; therefore, no home remedy for burns should take the place of proper medical care. Home remedies should be considered first aid, instead.
Burns are described in three levels of severity: first-, second-, and third-degree. Most common are what could be called “kitchen accidents” – touching a hot pot or a stove top leads to a first-degree burn. This leads to reddening and swelling of the skin where contact was made. The pain level is roughly akin to that of a sunburn. While not life-threatening, first degree burns are annoying, and they can cause discomfort for several days. Burn relief home remedies for these burns are myriad, but most effective is to first apply a cold compress or plunge the area in ice or cold water. As the skin is being “cooked’ this stops that process. The mildest burns can be treated effectively with the juice from a household aloe plant (and many people grow these at home for just such emergencies). The aloe soothes and moisturizes. It is one of the oldest known burn relief home remedies.
Second-degree burns penetrate to the second layer of skin. These are more painful and prone to infections. The swelling and reddening of the typical first-degree burn present, but blistering appears as well. The pain is more intense. Again, a burn home remedy is available. First remove the source of the burn (hot or smoldering clothing, for example). Gently apply cold compresses for no more than 10 minutes to stop the burning process. It is important to do one’s best to not break blisters as these become sources of easy infection. An antibiotic ointment can be placed on the burn, and a light, sterile dressing applied. This should only be done for small burns (covering less than 9% of the victim’s body). Greater burn areas require immediate medical treatment.
Finally, the worst type of burn is the third-degree burn. This can lead to charring, and even penetrate to the bone. It is very painful, but in some cases nerve damage may be so extensive only numbness is felt. The first thing to do is remove the heat source. If clothing is smoldering, hot to the touch, or on fire, remove it by cutting it away if necessary. If the skin is charred into the clothing do not attempt to remove it as the peeling action will cause more damage. Similarly, if the victim has hot tar or wax or some other sticky substance on the skin do not attempt to remove it. Instead, in all cases, bathe the area in cold water or ice for about 10 minutes. Regardless of how much of the body’s surface is involved, all third-degree burns can lead to infections and should be properly given over to professional medical care immediately. Treating burns at home should only be considered as a first step.