A first-degree burn is an injury to the tissues due to direct contact or exposure to thermal heat such as fire, steam, hot liquids and objects, electrical, chemical and radiation sources. Remember that burns can cause severe pain. Minor or superficial burns can be treated at home. The most common type of burn is the first-degree burn where the outermost layer of skin or epidermis is affected.
Indications of a first-degree burn
- Minor swelling of the affected area
- Sensitivity of the area and warm when touched
- Redness of the skin
- Soothe the burn using cold water to lower the temperature of the affected area and stop the damage from becoming worse. Run cool water over the affected area for at least 10 minutes. If the flow of water on the skin causes pain, apply a wet and cool towel. Avoid applying ice or very cold water on the burned area.
- Remove items from the body such as bracelets, rings, necklaces and anklets and other items that can cause disruption in the blood circulation when the affected area starts to swell. Remove them gently to prevent further damage to the tissues.
- Apply aloe vera on the affected skin to lessen the pain, inflammation and promote healing of the condition. If there is an aloe vera plant available, split open the leaf lengthwise and apply the gel directly on the area and allow to absorb into the skin.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen to lessen the pain and inflammation.
- If the burn caused a deep and dirty wound and the individual hasn’t received a tetanus vaccination in the last 5 years, seek medical help immediately.
- Check for signs of infection such as swelling, redness and pain that becomes severe over time along with fever, drainage of pus or fluid from the wound and red streaks spreading from the affected area.
The details posted on this page on first-degree burn is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage burns such as a first-degree injury, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.