How to Handle Holiday Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are common during holidays, as people light more candles, do more cooking, and experiment with things like frying turkeys. Some burns can be managed at home easily, while others require emergency care . Knowing what steps to take can reduce pain and the risk of long-term scarring. If burn injuries strike this holiday season, take these steps to get the right treatment.

Determine the Degree
Start by evaluating the burn to determine how serious it is. A first-degree burn, also called a superficial burn, causes pain, swelling, and redness but no blistering. Second-degree burns involve deeper layers of skin. On the surface, the skin may look thickened, and blisters are common. The skin appears waxy or leathery after a third-degree burn. Most third-degree burns aren’t initially painful because of damage to the nerves. Fourth-degree burns cause the skin to look charred and ashy. They are usually not painful at the time they occur but are extremely serious.

Consider Home Care
Minor, first-degree burns that are less than three inches in diameter can often be treated at home. Rinse the area with cool water to ease pain and swelling, and clean the area with mild soap and water. Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the area with sterile gauze. All other burns require emergency care, and every burn, regardless of how superficial it seems, should be evaluated when it affects the face or genitals or when the victim is a child or elderly person. Children have skin that is particularly vulnerable to burn injuries, as West Hills Hospital physician Dr. Alexander Majidan explains in this video .

Choose Emergency Care
In the ER, the doctor will determine the extent of the burn and provide treatment to reduce the risk of infection and to alleviate pain. In some cases, patients can leave the ER after their initial treatment and continue to manage the burn through outpatient care. For severe burns, inpatient treatment at a burn center may be needed.

West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is home to the world-renowned Grossman Burn Center , where we provide innovate acute care and reconstruction for patients with severe burns, as well as comprehensive rehabilitation and psychological counseling during the recovery process. Find out more about our burn center in West Hills by calling (818) 676-4321.

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