Minor burns - aftercare
You can care for minor burns at home with simple first aid. There are different levels of burns.
First-degree burns are only on the top layer of the skin. The skin can:
Second-degree burns go one layer deeper than first-degree burns. The skin will:
Treat a burn like a major burn (call your doctor) if it is:
Partial thickness burns - aftercare; Minor burns - self-care
First aid for Minor Burns
First, calm and reassure the person who is burned.
If clothing is not stuck to the burn, remove it. If the burn is caused by chemicals, take off all clothes that have the chemical on them.
Cool the burn:
Caring for Burns
After the burn is cooled, make sure it is a minor burn. If it is deeper, larger, or on the hand, foot, face, groin, buttocks, hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist, seek medical care right away.
If it is a minor burn:
What to Expect
Minor burns could take up to 3 weeks to heal.
A burn can itch as it heals. DO NOT scratch it.
The deeper the burn, the more likely it is to scar. If the burn appears to be developing a scar, call your health care provider for advice.
When to Call the Doctor
Burns are susceptible to tetanus. This means tetanus bacteria can enter your body through the burn. If your last tetanus shot was more than 5 years ago, call your provider. You may need a booster shot.
Call your provider if you have signs of infection:
Mazzeo AS. Burn care procedures. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 38.
Singer AJ, Lee CC. Thermal burns. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 56.
Review Date: 8/4/2018
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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