Volume 7 Issue 3: Treating Burns

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Burns can be caused by fire, heat, sunlight, chemicals, electricity or radiation. Working with horseshoes, you have probably experienced some kind of burns and know they can be very painful. What you might not know is that the most serious type of burn may be the least painful.

3rd degree burns are also called full thickness burns because they are deep, with damage to all layers of skin and sometimes the tissue, bones and nerves. It is the nerve damage that causes the loss of feeling at the center of these burns. The outer edge of the this kind of burn may be a bad second degree burn and be extremely painful because the nerve damage hasn't occurred.

2nd degree burns are generally the most painful as both the first and second layers of skin can be damaged. Blisters are a good indication of a 2nd degree burn, as are swelling and intense red or blotchy areas.

1st degree burns affect the first layer of skin and are considered minor burns if they are small. 1st degree burns are still quite painful and if they cover a large area of the body they can be serious as well. Some redness and swelling followed by peeling in a few days are good indicators of minor burns. Proper and quick treatment is important to minimize damage, relieve pain and promote healing. Once safely away from the source of the burn, treatment can begin. Improper treatment may actually cause problems with further treatment or even cause greater damage. So called "home remedies" as well as uses of some over the counter products are responsible for making things worse.

Here are a few things NOT to do:

  • Do not use ice or ice water
  • Do not use butter, grease, or oil
  • Do not use potatoes or anything else you have in the fridge or cupboard.
  • Do not use creams or ointments
  • Do not use alcohol-based sprays or treatments that contain lidocaine (even if they say for burns)
  • Do not use home made treatments

There are a few things TO do:

  • Do seek emergency direction for all chemical, electrical or radiation burns and serious burns before any treatment
  • Do stop the burning process with the cleanest water available. Sterile, bottled or clean tap water. Or immediately apply a Medi-Burn dressing or hydrogel
  • Do use a sterile dressing or gel with bacteriostatic properties like Medi-Burn to help minimize the chance of infection.
  • Do use a cool, moist dressing to relieve the pain
  • Do use a dressing or hydrogel that will not stick to a burn
  • Do use a dressing or hydrogel that will rinse off with water
  • Do seek medical attention

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